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Blog Category: Technology

NIST Defining the Expanding World of Cloud Computing

Image of laptop computer.

Photo: Shutterstock

A working definition for cloud computing—a new computer technique with potential for achieving significant cost savings and information technology agility—has been released by a team of computer security experts at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Since the federal government is considering cloud computing as a component of its new technology infrastructure, it is NIST’s role to evaluate it and then promote its effective and secure use within government and industry by providing technical guidance and developing standards. (More)

New Study: Home Energy Savings Are Made in the Shade

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Trees positioned to shade the west and south sides of a house may decrease summertime electric bills by 5 percent on average, according to a recent study of California homes by researchers from Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The first large-scale study of its kind, the research paper considers the effects of shade on 460 single-family homes in Sacramento during the summer of 2007 and provides hard statistics showing how well-placed shade trees can reduce energy costs and atmospheric carbon as well. (More)

Researchers Give High Marks to New Technology for Fingerprint Identification

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Overworked crime scene investigators can take heart at the results of recent tests at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of new technologies that automate the manual portion of latent fingerprint identification. Prototype systems evaluated by NIST performed surprisingly well for a developing technology: half of the prototypes were accurate at least 80 percent of the time and one had a near perfect score. Automating the manual portion of the work frees up time for trained examiners to spend time on very difficult images that the software has little hope of processing. (More)

Vice President Biden and Secretary Locke Outline Funding for Smart Grid Initiatives

Vice President Biden and Commerce Secretary Locke at podium. Click for larger image.

Vice President Joe Biden, on a visit to Jefferson City, Mo. with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, detailed plans by the Department of Energy to develop a smart, strong and secure electrical grid, which will create new jobs and help deliver reliable power more effectively with less impact on the environment to customers across the nation. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Vice President and Secretary outlined plans to distribute more than $3.3 billion in Smart Grid technology development grants and an additional $615 million for Smart Grid storage, monitoring and technology viability. (White House Release) (Secretary’s Remarks)

NIST Announces Three-Phase Plan for Smart Grid Standards, Paving Way for More Efficient, Reliable Electricity

Image of electricity-producing wind farm. Click for larger image.

Photo: Shutterstock

As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to moving the nation toward energy independence, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced a three-phase plan to expedite development of key standards for a Smart Grid, a nationwide network that uses information technology to deliver electricity efficiently, reliably and securely. The recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) contains investments critical to spurring the Smart Grid development process. The Smart Grid will allow wind farms to send their energy farther from their source. (More) (NIST Recovery Act Information)

USPTO Seeks Nominees to Public Advisory Committees

USPTO seal.

The Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking nominations for the Patent Public Advisory Committee and the Trademark Public Advisory Committee. The committees advise the agency on a wide variety of policy and budgetary issues. Members are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Secretary of Commerce. Member’s terms run for three years. Those appointed must have “substantial backgrounds and achievement in finance, management, labor relations, science, and technology and office automation.” (More)

NIST Improves Microscope's Stability for Nanomanufacturing Biology

Ian an atomic force microscope (AFM), force is measured by a laser beam, yellow in this artist's rendition. AFM photo.

Photo: G. Kuebler/JILA/CU

A research team from the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado has improved by 100 times the stability of a workhorse tool in nanotechnology, known as the atomic force microscope, potentially improving a wide range of areas from nanomanufacturing to biology, where sensitive, atom-scale measurements must be made at room temperature in liquids. (More)

Safer Net Surfing is Goal of NIST Domain Name Security Experts

Image of user log-on screen.

When you type www.irs.gov—or the Web address of your bank or an e-commerce site—into your web browser, you want to be sure that no one is hijacking your request and sending you to a bogus look-alike page. You’re relying on the integrity of the Internet’s “phone book,” the Domain Name System (DNS). Computer scientists at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are playing a major role in making sure that what you type is what you get by providing standards, guidance and testing necessary to bolster the trustworthiness of the global DNS. A draft update of NIST’s guidelines for DNS security is now available for public comment. (More)

NIST: Updated Recommendations for Protecting Wireless, Remote Access Data

NIST logo.

Telecommuting has freed many to work far from the confines of the office via laptop, but the price of working while sipping a latte at that sunny café is the danger that a public network will not keep the data that passes through it safe. Now, to combat the risk inherent in remote access, Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has updated its guide on maintaining data security while teleworking. The revised guide offers advice for protecting the wide variety of private and mobile devices from threats that have appeared since the first edition appeared in August 2002. (More)

USPTO Seeks Nominees for National Medal of Technology and Innovation Award

Image of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking nominations for the highest honor for technological achievement, the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The USPTO administers the NMTI program on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce. Honorees are chosen for their outstanding contributions to the nation’s economic, environmental and social well-being through the development and commercialization of technological products, processes and concepts; technological innovation; and development of the country’s technological manpower. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation was created by Congress in 1980. (More)