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Quick Hits for Oct. 31

*** The Department of Energy has plans for a new supercomputer. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has entered into a contract with Cray valued at $146 million to build and maintain a supercomputer being called "Perlmutter" that will be operational by 2020, DOE announced Tuesday.

This new machine is expected to triple the computational power that is available at Berkeley's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center. DOE is calling this a "pre-exascale machine" that will help with the analysis of large scientific datasets and is optimized to transfer data at a rate of 4 terabytes per second.

*** The Department of Transportation, meanwhile, is looking for insight into how it can better analyze and visualize safety-related data. DOT currently stores that data in a variety of datasets scattered across on-premises data centers and multiple commercial clouds. The request for information states that the agency would like to consolidate that data, as well as datasets from other federal agencies and private-sector companies like Waze.

DOT wants to be accelerate and formalize the processes for bringing in new data, and to take better advantage of emerging data science and visualization technologies. The department is hosting a webinar on Nov. 15 to answer questions related to the RFI. Responses are due Dec. 7.

*** Two of the three major Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey metrics saw a one-point bump over last year's results

The employee engagement score improved to 68 percent, reaching the highest level since 2011. The largest deltas in agencies with at least 100 employees were actually declines, however: the Department of Agriculture fell three points to a 65 percent, while the Department of Education dropped from 67 to 63 percent.

The New IQ score, a measure of employee inclusion, improved a point to 61 percent. The score declined in the small- and medium-sized agency categories, but increased in agencies with more than 75,000 employees.

The Global Satisfaction index, meanwhile, was unchanged at 64 percent governmentwide.

*** Customs and Border Protection has been exploring blockchain's potential to streamline and secure its trade-data workflows for more than a year. Now, GCN's Sara Friedman reports, the agency is adding augmented reality to its toolkit.

Posted on Oct 30, 2018 at 1:40 AM


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