As the new year begins, Alfred Rivera, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA) Development and Business Center, will retire from the Federal government. Rivera, who stepped down today, has been in the Federal service for 35 years, and spent all but 10 of those years at DISA. Rivera will begin consulting following his retirement from the public sector. 






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Turning that job over to robotic systems is the idea behind the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) latest competition, the Subterranean Challenge. DARPA is inviting teams from around the world to develop new ways of mapping, navigating, and searching underground environments, and is offering $2.75 million in prize money to the eventual winners.






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In a data scientist’s dreams, the Internet of Things (IoT) would cover the Earth. And in fact, that dream might not be that far off–ground-based sensors, unmanned vehicles, mobile devices of all kinds, and satellites already combine to offer a pretty clear picture of what’s going on around us, and the resolution is only going to improve.






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With the Internet for transportation, a lie can get all the way around the world before truth can blink itself awake. And that’s a challenge for those who seek to stem the proliferation of false information, be it accidentally misattributed quotes, political propaganda, or malicious “fake news.” Artificial intelligence can help combat the problem, by using machine learning algorithms to detect the patterns used in phony stories and ads designed to stir up fear or outrage, or, in the case of Russian disinformation, unsettle people’s faith in American institutions.






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An alliance of government agencies is taking a deep dive, as it were, into the world’s oceans as part of a larger project to develop a comprehensive environmental Earth model that could more accurately make predictions about weather and climate. The new model could enable forecasting events ahead of time, by days or even decades.






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Since 2001, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has tried three different modernization programs for its healthcare system. So when the department announced another plan to modernize by adopting the same system as the Department of Defense (DoD), the Subcommittee on Information Technology was skeptical and interrogated them in a Dec.7 hearing.






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