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FCW : March 30, 2015
IN THE IT PIPELINE WHAT: A request for research proposals in the area of natural communication with comput- ers from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. WHY: Instructions given to computers must typically be understood without context or any of the factors that give texture and unspoken speci- ficity to human conversation. DARPA’s announcement uses the instruction “add one more” as an example. A child looking at an assemblage of blocks might understand possible responses from the physical context, while a computer would find the request ambiguous. DARPA’s new Communicating with Computers program “seeks to develop technology to facili- tate communication between humans and machines, which we take to mean technology for assembling complex ideas from elementary ones given language and context.” The program isn’t necessarily looking to develop artificial intel- ligence, but DARPA is not exactly ruling it out either. Technical chal- lenges posed in the announce- ment include developing a sensing apparatus to facilitate communications tests, building a software library of elementary concepts to guide communica- tions, designing software that builds on complex ideas by com- bining language-based instruc- tion and physical context, and developing ways to understand whether machines are truly com- municating with people. FULL LISTING: is.gd/FCW_DARPA_BAA Managers of the General Services Administration’s $50 billion emerging telecommunications contract say they want to open it up to contractors other than traditional providers. In a conference call with reporters in early March, Mary Davie, assistant commissioner of GSA’s Office of Inte- grated Technology Services, said the agency was structuring the contract so that companies could submit individual bids or partner with others to offer the necessary services. GSA released a draft request for pro- posals in February for the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) acquisi- tion that will be the foundation of the Network Services 2020 strategy. Indus- try comments on the draft RFP are due March 30, and a final RFP is expected by July. GSA plans to award the EIS contract by the end of fiscal 2016. Industry observers have voiced concerns that the EIS contract could favor more traditional telecom carriers by requiring core services that other companies might not be able to offer as effectively. But Fred Haines, EIS program man- ager in GSA’s Office of Network Ser- vices Programs, said that although the EIS draft RFP requires contractors to cover four mandatory services — vir- tual private networks, managed net- works, regional telecom and Ethernet — there are 12 other categories that fit “right into the wheelhouse of systems integrators.” The draft RFP seeks to widen the playing field in a number of ways, including reducing geographic network coverage requirements for providers. “Major players could bid the whole thing,” he said, while other compa- nies could address smaller geographi- cal areas. Industry experts have also said com- panies might choose not to bid on EIS given the multiple sources for federal agencies to buy telecom goods and services, including GSA’s Schedules program and various governmentwide acquisition contracts. “We’re not building a GWAC,” Davie said, but something that can pro- vide more targeted capabilities. For instance, EIS and the NS2020 strategy seek to simplify ordering and manage- ment of an ever-widening pool of tele- com services and capabilities. Users will be able to put together specific packages of services according to their needs, she added. — Mark Rockwell March 30, 2015 FCW.COM 9 18 months Next-gen telecom contract draws unconventional interest is NSA Director Michael Rogers’ estimate for when the military will have cyber offensive capabilities Join the conversation FCW uses Twitter to break news, field questions and ask our own. Learn more at Twitter.com/FCWnow. 9:12AM-6Mar2015 Matt Goodrich @MrFedRAMP Reply Retweet Favorite Aren’t many marriages uncertain? At least we like each other! RT @FCWnow: The uncertain marriage of CDM and FedRAMP http://ow.ly/2VvOSQ 0330fcw_003-009.indd 9 3/11/15 9:28 AM
March 15, 2015
April 15, 2015