When you buy your groceries, the best and brightest fruits and veggies have usually traveled across the country and sometimes across the world to get to you. This supply chain bypasses the perfectly fresh produce local to your community. Our traditional market practices have enormously high transportation and carbon costs, create massive amounts of wasted food, and may leave our local farmers with unsustainable businesses.
So what can we do to address these problems?
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“Weatherizing my home? What does that mean?” “I’m only renting. Why should I care?” “That sounds complicated and expensive.”
These are common responses Kathy Huynh would hear from renters living in the lower-income apartment complexes where she spent time volunteering as an Energy Master. Energy Masters is a program focused on providing information and services for under-invested communities in Arlington and Alexandria. The objective is to help residents decrease their energy and water usage and utility bills, while, ideally, increasing comfort levels in units.
The pace of change accelerated across organizations over the past year, perhaps even more so across the government, given the previously limited telework capacity and available resources for robust virtual collaboration. This post focuses on lessons learned while taking a high-engagement, in-person, transformational change method into the virtual world to support the Census Bureau’s effort to design a 21st-century organization.
When Charles Clancy helped launch Virginia’s Smart City Innovation Competition in January, he mentioned that, despite being MITRE’s Chief Futurist, his job didn’t come with a crystal ball.
Instead, he told the hundred or so innovators participating in the month-long hackathon—the first of its kind in Virginia—that his job is to think beyond the challenges facing the government today, focus on likely challenges in the future, and ensure that MITRE has talent with the schooling and smarts to prepare for those problems.
Once upon a time, when it was uncommon to wear a medical mask in public, I was a mechanical engineering student at the University of Oklahoma. As anyone who’s been to the Southeast will know, Oklahoma is oil country. Therefore, when I went to the career fair in the Spring semester of my junior year, I had filtered out all of the companies that had anything to do with the petroleum industry. I was left with only a few companies that piqued my interest. One of these companies was MITRE.
Researchers have been vocal about the rise of quantum computers and how they may come to fundamentally undermine our assurance in cryptography (AKA the backbone of protecting all our digital interactions). Enter Perry Loveridge, the MITRE engineer paving a path towards a future where all of our digital interactions can be protected, even from quantum computers.
Air travel has become so common place to the point where many of us never even think about the wonder of flying on an aircraft or being able to send things around the world over night. And yet every day, countless agencies and individuals around the world move in a coordinated ballet even in the face of a global pandemic. In this session of the tri-annual Aviation Industry Update podcast, Michael Wells and Bob Brents focus on the complex logistics involved with distributing COVID vaccines across the country as well as the various applications that can help ease travel restrictions for a public eager to get back to normal.
Approximately 2 billion people lack regular access to sufficient quality food. The issue of global food insecurity is one that is constantly being looked at and, fortunately, MITRE is stepping up to help mitigate this problem. Dr. David E. Willmes discusses his team’s project and how it uses significant crop and consumption data to better understand the factors at play in this global problem.
One of the key metrics for measuring how fast a computer performs is through floating-point operations (i.e., any mathematical operation on two decimal numbers, such as +, -, *, /) per second. You would be amazed if you were to compare the Apollo 11 Guidance Computer with today’s iPhone 12’s 16-core Apple Neural Engine.
When you launch a project team, what are your go-to methods for kicking off, building cohesion, establishing goals, and delivering value together? If you’ve been thinking about refreshing your toolkit, would you consider a customizable process—with or without steamed milk—to ensure that everyone knows why they are on the project and why it is going to be the best one ever?
Many countries in the Global South are not fortunate enough to have the infrastructure or tools that we take for granted. Things as simple as knowing where a community is can mean life or death when battling disease. Join us as Dr. Victoria M. Gammino walks us through her work turning geospatial data into the tools and technology needed to keep the world healthy and disease free.
Every day, billions of people connect to the internet. When you log on to your favorite website, mitre.org for example, you can be quite safe in assuming that what you get is the real MITRE website and not a random server pretending to be mitre.org to steal information. You can also safely assume that you are the only one who can log on to your bank account and access all the information contained in it.
Like life, our projects move fast, and it is hard to find the time to stop and look around, causing us to miss insights that could be valuable to future projects. That’s where the Knowledge Harvesting (KH) Framework comes in.
Considered the first Internet of Things (IoT) device, the toaster John Romkey created could be turned on and off over the Internet during the October ’89 INTEROP conference! Since then, more people have begun to use IoT devices. Simply put, IoT connects devices with the Internet, from things as simple as smart light bulbs and coffee makers to things as complicated as robots and drones.
Charles Schmidt worked with his leadership in the Cyber Security Technical Center to figure out ways to incentivize better use of Tech Stature to record outreach activities. The Collaboration & Information Management department in Corporate Operations created the initial ROAR website to record awardees, and the Digital Content and Creative department designed the ROAR ribbons with their roaring lion icon. Thanks to these collective efforts, the Ribbons for Outreach Activity Recognition, or ROAR, was born.
Cars field more than 100 sesors. All these sensors turn our automobiles into mobile Internet of Things (IoT) devices. With on-board computers providing a vast number of functions, including mobile communication and entertainment systems, most cars today can also perform limited auto-piloting, communicate with nearby cars, and transmit sensor data over the internet. All of these activities are made possible because of increasing deployment of 5G.
Quantum technologies frequently appear in popular science articles and can also be a popular speculative conversation topic among interested professionals. This is for good reason: Quantum technologies have the potential to be game changing in many ways, but that fact can be misleading as to how soon, and how direct, those impacts will be to our everyday lives. As a trusted advisor to many government sponsors, MITRE explains these technologies and aims to temper expectations when necessary.
Air travel has become commonplace to the point where many of us never even think about the wonder of flying on an aircraft or being able to send things around the world over night. And yet every day, countless agencies and individuals around the world move in a coordinated ballet even in the face of a global pandemic. Listen in as MITRE’s own Michael Wells and Bob Brents pull back the curtain on the latest news from the aviation industry and what they’re doing to help keep our economy flying high.
As data science has exploded in popularity and use, so have the tools used to solve problems in the domain. Some of these open source programs and programming suites have become extremely popular, and thus developers have designed a whole host of code that might be referred to as add-ons, extensions, and packages to improve functionality and save time for users, both experienced and new.
Innovation, much like improv, isn’t easy, but it can be a powerful way to bring people into a conversation they might typically avoid or feel excluded from. In our latest discussion with the Innovation Toolkit Team, Jen and Josh walk us through the power improvisation can have to start these conversations and how they refined their unique approach.
So You Want to Think Like a Data Scientist? The Importance of Visualizations in the Data Science Workflow
Although the moniker data scientist implies that the role centers around manipulating data and modeling it, visualizing data and creating visualizations are an integral part of the daily workflow for practicing data scientists like me. Not only do visualizations allow us to communicate results quickly and efficiently, but visualizing is a key tool during exploratory data analysis, data cleaning, modeling, and other steps of the process of telling stories with numbers.
In a mid-summer virtual lunch with student interns, MITRE President and CEO Dr. Jason Providakes said, “We’ve had all this bad news [this summer], but the fact that MITRE can continue an internship program is a testament to our commitment of building the future workforce and serving the public interest.” A key part of MITRE’s overall student program this past summer, which involved nearly 500 student staff members, was the Emerging Technologies Summer Student Research Program, which began in 1989, and despite the pandemic, successfully completed its 32nd summer in 2020, under the leadership of Dr. James Ellenbogen.
The classic conception of an intern is a minion who brings people coffee, fixes printer jams, and does grunt work. The interns hired by MITRE’s Emerging Technologies Department, however, are not minions. They are student investigators charged with helping to solve overwhelming societal problems. Read profiles of four of these interns and their summer work in the public interest.
It’s no secret that change can be difficult and slow, especially when it comes to changes at work. Just this week, I heard an executive say, “Anyone who tells you that change is easy hasn’t done it before.”
Yet this year, many of us have quickly embraced virtual collaboration tools. We’ve all experienced numerous other changes, especially as we untethered from the “40 hour+ work on-site” culture. Why have we been so quick to adopt Zoom, Slack, and Office 365? What can we learn from this recent experience so that we can support our colleagues through future change?
In 2012, The Economist penned an obituary for the Public-Private Partnership (PPP). The headline: ‘RIPPP’. Eight years later however PPPs are very much alive and the appetite for them has not slowed in spite of high-profile scandals and debates about the commodification of public infrastructure.
PPPs, while diverse and increasingly complex, can most easily be thought of as a long-term contract between a public agency and a private party to execute or operate a project.
A computer scientist looks at a refugee crisis to model a pandemic.
How does that connection work exactly and why? If it appears to resemble a scenario in which a farmer learns how to plant an apple orchard by examining the supply chain for manufacturing orange juice, well, you may actually be onto something. The novel coronavirus has presented unprecedented medical, social, and economic challenges, which means that the thoughtful people responding have no choice but to innovate. However, in 2020, innovation doesn’t mean going where no one has gone before. It means harvesting everything that has come before in a disciplined way to see what might bear fruit.
I work as a DevOps Engineer. For a long time, I could not explain my career in a way that my mother could understand. She wanted to understand, but something as abstract and complex as DevOps can be hard for a lay person to grasp.
Eventually, I realized that my explanations focused only on the technical aspects of DevOps—the pipeline, automation, Infrastructure as Code—and not on the foundational principles of DevOps itself: Flow, Feedback, and Continuous Improvement. These three principles, called the Three Ways, I can explain to my mother by using her favorite hobby—baking—as a metaphor.
In designing solutions to some of the most pressing, complex, entrenched problems facing the nation, MITRE employees know they have to get creative.
And, as a company working in the public interest, we want to be sure the next generation of engineers and business leaders can address similarly formidable challenges. We want them to get creative too.
That’s why we recently deepened our partnership with James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA by bringing MITRE into the classroom.
The STEM field has been described as the great equalizer, a field that celebrates and elevates those who contribute to it. Still, many students, especially students of color, find it intimidating and hard to approach. Fortunately, individuals like Willie Hill are dedicating their time and talents to show students of all backgrounds that STEM is fun and worth getting excited about.
“Science,” “collaboration,” and “serving the best interests of the wider community” are cherished values at MITRE, as is the concept of continuous learning. At MITRE, citizen science is thus a volunteer and civic activity, a hobby, a tool for research, a source of learning, a professional and social networking opportunity, and a means of giving back to the scientific community.
At first glance, creativity might seem like the ability to make something from nothing. That isn’t actually true, but creativity does require an active imagination and the ability to judge what, among all the imagined things, might have value, given what you’re trying to accomplish. Creativity in engineering and in the arts requires the ability to generate a wide variety of ideas that relate to the goals of the effort, often the more ideas the better. Judgment is then used to evaluate the merits and flaws of each idea.