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. […]

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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Despite an air of uncertainty coming from the Trump administration, the Department of Energy’s research arm is forging ahead with what it calls “transformational research,” putting up $100 million to try to ensure that it doesn’t miss a trick when it comes to potentially disruptive energy research.






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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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Password manager company, Dashlane, has added a twist with its list of the “Worst Password Offenders” of 2017, naming high-profile people and organizations that fell into the bad-password trap. President Trump was deemed the worst offender, primarily because of simple passwords reportedly used by cabinet members and policy directors. Outside parties were also the culprits for the Department of Defense, specifically for its contractor, Booz Allen, as well as the Republican Party (stemming from a careless data analytics firm). Paul Manafort, for using “Bond007” as a password, and Sean Spicer, for apparently tweeting his passwords, also came in for scorn.






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Email is a core network application for both the private sector the and government, and has become an essential business communication tool. Since email is nearly ubiquitous and often poorly secured, it also has become a vector for fraud and data theft. Phishing emails can compromise not only Federal networks and databases, but also trust in government communications.






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Last July, the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) revamped the provisional authorization process to make life easier for cloud service providers (CSPs). The change let CSPs use a simple web form to delineate their business cases to FedRAMP’s Joint Authorization Board (JAB).






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In a report released on Dec. 7, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that while Veterans Affairs (VA) has made some progress on key IT initiatives under Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) requirements, it has nonetheless fallen short of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) targets regarding consolidating and optimizing its data centers.






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