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Tech Beat - October 6, 2009

Tech Beat Archives

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Editor: Michael Baum
Date created: December 29, 2010
Date Modified: December 29, 2010 
Contact: inquiries@nist.gov

NIST Releases Draft Report on Cowboys Facility Collapse

A fabric-covered, steel frame practice facility owned by the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys collapsed under wind loads significantly less than those it should have resisted under applicable design standards, according to a report released today for public comment by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

collapsed Dallas Cowboys practice facility

Overall view of the collapsed Dallas Cowboys practice facility after the fabric covering was removed.

Credit: NIST
View hi-resolution image.

Located in Irving, Texas, the facility collapsed on May 2, 2009, during a severe thunderstorm. Twelve people were injured, one seriously.

The Cowboys facility was designed as a series of identical, rib-like steel frames supporting a tensioned fabric covering. Assumptions and approaches used in the design of the building led to the differences between the values originally calculated for the wind load demand and structural frame capacity compared to those derived by the NIST researchers. For instance, the NIST researchers included internal wind pressure due to the presence of vents and multiple doors in their wind load calculations because they classified the building as “partially enclosed” rather than “fully enclosed” as stated in the design documents. The NIST researchers also determined that the building’s fabric could not be relied upon to provide lateral bracing (additional perpendicular support) to the frames in contrast to what was stated in the design documents and that the expected wind resistance of the structure did not account for bending effects in some members of the frame.

Based on data acquired during a reconnaissance of the collapsed facility, the NIST study team developed a computer model of a typical structural frame used in the practice facility and then studied the frame’s ability to resist wind. NIST worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Severe Storms Laboratory to estimate the wind conditions at the time of collapse. The researchers determined that, at the time of collapse, the wind was blowing perpendicular to the long side of the building. Maximum wind speed gusts at the time of collapse were estimated to be in the range of 55 to 65 miles per hour—well below the design wind speed of 90 miles per hour in the national standard for wind loads. A microburst (a small, intense downdraft which results in a localized area of strong winds) was centered about one mile southwest of the structure at the time of collapse.

According to the NIST and NOAA researchers, the wind field in the vicinity of the Cowboys facility at the time of collapse was consistent with design standards and not unusual.

The NIST report provides an analysis of the facility’s collapse, including the most likely sequence of events, and recommends that other fabric-covered steel frame structures be evaluated to ensure adequate performance under design wind loads. These evaluations, says NIST, should determine whether or not the fabric covering provides lateral bracing for structural frames considering its potential for tearing; the building should be considered partially enclosed or fully enclosed based on the openings that may be present around the building’s perimeter; and the failure of one or a few frame members may propagate, leading to a partial or total collapse of the structure.

The draft report is available online at www.bfrl.nist.gov/investigations/investigations.htm. Comments on the draft report and recommendation must be received by noon Eastern time on Nov. 6, 2009. Comments may be submitted in writing via e-mail to structuralsafety@nist.gov; fax to (301) 869-6275; or surface mail to the attention of Stephen Cauffman, NIST, 100 Bureau Dr., Stop 8611, Gaithersburg, Md. 20899-8611.

Once the final report is published, NIST will brief and provide technical support on its recommendations to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) committee currently developing a building standard specifically for tensioned fabric structures. NIST also will brief the appropriate committee of the International Code Council (ICC) on its recommendations for use in improving provisions in ICC’s model building code.

For more details, see the NIST news release “Draft NIST Report on Cowboys Facility Collapse Released for Comment.”

Media Contact: Michael E. Newman, michael.newman@nist.gov, 301-975-3025

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Large-Scale Cousin of Elusive ’Magnetic Monopoles’ Found at NIST

magnetic monopoles
magnetic monopoles
magnetic monopoles

Magnetic monopoles are created (top) when the spin of an ion in one corner of a spin ice crystal is knocked askew, creating a monopole (red sphere) and adjacent antimonopole (blue sphere). Neutron scattering at the NCNR allowed the team to see the spin ice’s transition from its normal state (center) to the monopole state. Monopoles scatter neutrons in a telltale fashion indicated by the red arrows in (bottom.)

Credit: NIST
View hi-resolution image for top image, center image and bottom image

Any child can tell you that a magnet has a “north” and a “south” pole, and that if you break it into two pieces, you invariably get two smaller magnets with two poles of their own. But scientists have spent the better part of the last eight decades trying to find, in essence, a magnet with only one pole. A team working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has found one.*

In 1931, Paul Dirac, one of the rock stars of the physics world, made the somewhat startling prediction that “magnetic monopoles,” or particles possessing only a single pole—either north or south—should exist. His conclusion stemmed from examining a famous set of equations that explains the relationship between electricity and magnetism. Maxwell’s equations apply to long-known electric monopole particles, such as negatively charged electrons and positively charged protons; but despite Dirac’s prediction, no one has found magnetic monopole particles.

Now, a research team working at NIST’s Center for Neutron Research (NCNR), led by Hiroaki Kadowaki of Tokyo Metropolitan University, has found the next best thing. By creating a compound that under certain conditions forms large, molecule-sized monopoles that behave exactly as the predicted particles should, the team has found a way to explore magnetic monopoles in the laboratory, not just on the chalkboard. (Another research team, working simultaneously, published similar findings in Science last month.**)

“These are not the monopole particles Dirac predicted—ours are huge in comparison—but they behave like them in every way,” says Jeff Lynn, a NIST physicist. “Their properties will allow us to test how theoretical monopole particles should behave and interact.”

The team created their monopoles in a compound made of oxygen, titanium and dysprosium that, when cooled to nearly absolute zero, forms what scientists call “spin ice.” The material freezes into four-sided crystals (a pyramid with a triangular base) and the magnetic orientation, or “spin,” of the ions at each of the four tips align so that their spins are balanced—two spins point inward and two outward. But using neutron beams at the NCNR, the team found they could knock one of the spins askew so that instead three point in, one out … “creating a monopole, or at least its mathematical equivalent,” Lynn said.

Because every crystal pyramid shares its four tips with adjacent pyramids, flipping the spin of one tip creates an “anti-monopole” in the next pyramid over. The team has created monopole-antimonopole pairs repeatedly in a relatively large chunk of the spin ice, allowing them to confirm the monopoles’ existence through advanced imaging techniques such as neutron scattering.

While the findings will not tell the team where in the universe to search for Dirac’s still-elusive magnetic monopole particles, Lynn says that examining the spin ice will permit scientists to test certain predictions about monopoles. “Maxwell’s equations indicate that monopoles should obey Coulomb’s Law, which indicates their interaction should weaken as distance between them increases,” he says. “Using the spin ice crystals, we can test ideas like this.”

* H. Kadowaki, N. Doi, Y. Aoki, Y. Tabata, T.J. Sato, J.W. Lynn, K. Matsuhira and Z. Hiroi. Observation of magnetic monopoles in spin ice. Journal of the Physical Society of Japan,78, No. 10, Oct. 13, 2009. (The team first presented their findings in an invited talk at the International Conference on Neutron Scattering in May 2009.)

** D. J. P. Morris, et al. Dirac strings and magnetic monopoles in spin ice Dy2Ti2O7. Science, online publication Sept. 3, 2009.

Media Contact: Chad Boutin, boutin@nist.gov, 301-975-4261

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For Safer Emergencies, Give Your Power Generator Some Space

To subdue the steaming heat of hurricanes or to thaw out during a blizzard, gasoline-powered, portable generators are a lifeline during weather emergencies when homes are cut off without electricity. But these generators emit poisonous carbon monoxide—a single generator can produce a hundred times more of the colorless, odorless gas than a modern car’s exhaust. New research from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) shows that to prevent potentially dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, users may need to keep generators farther from the house than previously believed—perhaps as much as 25 feet.

Up to half of the incidents of non-fatal carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning reported in the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons involved generators run within 7 feet of the home, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Carbon monoxide can enter a house through a number of airflow paths, such as a door or window left open to accommodate the extension cord that brings power from the generator into the house. While some guidance recommends 10 feet from open windows as a safe operating distance, NIST researcher Steven Emmerich says the “safe” operating distance depends on the house, the weather conditions and the unit. A generator’s carbon monoxide output is usually higher than an automobile’s, he says, because most generators do not have the sophisticated emission controls that cars do.

“People need to be aware that generators are potentially deadly and they need to educate themselves on proper use,” Emmerich says. With funding from CDC, NIST researchers are gathering reliable data to support future CDC guidance.

NIST building researchers simulated multiple scenarios of a portable generator operating outside of a one-story house, using both a test structure and two different computer models—the NIST-developed CONTAM indoor air quality model and a computational fluid dynamics model.

The simulations included factors that could be controlled by humans, such as generator location, exhaust direction and window-opening size, and environmental factors such as wind, temperature and house dimensions. In the simulations the generator was placed at various distances from the house and tested under different weather conditions.

“We found that for the house modeled in this study,” researcher Leon Wang says, “a generator position 15 feet away from open windows was not far enough to prevent carbon monoxide entry into the house.”

Winds perpendicular to the open window resulted in more carbon monoxide entry than winds at an angle, and lower wind speeds generally allowed more carbon monoxide in the house. “Slow, stagnant wind seems to be the worst case because it leads to the carbon monoxide lingering by the windows,” Wang explains. Researchers determined that placing the generator outside of the airflow recirculation regions near the open windows reduced carbon monoxide entry.

In the next phase of the study NIST will model a two-story house that researchers believe will interact with the wind differently. NIST researchers also have worked with the Consumer Product Safety Commission on related work. (See: “NIST to Study Hazards of Portable Gasoline-Powered Generators,” NIST Tech Beat, March 5, 2008.)

The generator study can be downloaded at http://fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/build09/PDF/b09009.pdf.

* L. Wang and S.J. Emmerich. Modeling the Effects of Outdoor Gasoline Powered Generator Use on Indoor Carbon Monoxide Exposures. (NIST Technical Note 1637,) 2009.

Media Contact: Evelyn Brown, evelyn.brown@nist.gov, 301-975-5661

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New Computer Security Guide Can Help Safeguard Your Small Business

Just in time for October's Cyber Security Awareness Month, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published a guide to help small businesses and organizations understand how to provide basic security for their information, systems and networks. NIST has also created a video that explores the reasons small businesses need to secure their data (at right).

The guide, Small Business Information Security: The Fundamentals, was authored by Richard Kissel, who spends much of his time on the road teaching computer security to groups of small business owners ranging from tow truck operators to managers of hospitals, small manufacturers and nonprofit organizations. The 20-page guide uses simple and clear language to walk small business owners through the important steps necessary to secure their computer systems and data.

Small businesses make up more than 95 percent of the nation's businesses, are responsible for about 50 percent of the Gross National Product and create about 50 percent of the country's new jobs, according to a 2009 Small Business Administration report. Yet these organizations rarely have the information technology resources to protect their sensitive information that larger corporations do.

Consequently, they could be seen as easy marks by hackers and cyber criminals, who could easily focus more of their unwanted attention on small businesses. And just like big companies, the computers at small businesses hold sensitive information on customers, employees and business partners that needs to be guarded, Kissel says. He adds that regulatory agencies have requirements to protect some health, financial and other information.

"There's a very small set of actions that a small business can do to avoid being an easy target, but they have to be done and done consistently," Kissel says.

In the guide Kissel provides 10 "absolutely necessary steps" to secure information, which includes such basics as installing firewalls, patching operating systems and applications and backing up business data, as well as controlling physical access to network components and training employees in basic security principles.

He also provides 10 potential security trouble spots to be aware of such as e-mail, social media, online banking, Web surfing and downloading software from the Internet, as well as security planning considerations. The guide's appendices provide assistance on identifying and prioritizing an organization's information types, recognizing the protection an organization needs for its priority information types and estimating the potential costs of bad things happening to important business information.

NIST works with the Small Business Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in this outreach to educate small businesses.

Small Business Information Security: The Fundamentals can be downloaded from the Small Business Corner Web site at http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/SMA/sbc/.

The related video, "Information Technology Security for Small Business. It's not just good business. It's essential business," features experts from NIST and the Small Business Administration. The video is available on You Tube and the Small Business Corner of the NIST Computer Security Web pages. A free DVD of the video may be obtained by contacting Rich Kissel at (301) 975-5017 or by email at richard.kissel@nist.gov.

Media Contact: Evelyn Brown, evelyn.brown@nist.gov, 301-975-5661

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New NIST Database on Gas Hydrates to Aid Energy and Climate Research

gas hydrate burning

NIST has created an on-line database of physical properties of gas hydrates, strange, naturally occuring materials that look like water ice but burn, as shown by this man-made example of a gas hydrate.

Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a free, online collection of data on the properties of gas hydrates, naturally occurring crystalline materials that are a potential energy resource and also may affect the Earth’s climate.

Sometimes described as “flammable ice,” hydrates consist of water molecules that create cages around “guest molecules” such as methane, which is one carbon atom bonded with four hydrogen atoms, a principal component of natural gas. Vast stores of hydrates exist in subsurface sediments of permafrost and deep oceans and are considered a major potential energy resource. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the total amount of carbon captured in methane hydrate, worldwide, is at least twice the total amount held in fossil fuels. The flux of hydrates in the environment may play a role in the global carbon cycle and long-term climate patterns.

NIST researchers spent three years combing the literature on gas hydrates and comparing and evaluating data collected in experiments by numerous sources. The database contains about 12,000 individual data points for about 150 compounds spanning 400 different chemical systems. The data include phase equilibria (proportions of solid, liquid and gas phases in a material at a given temperature and pressure) and thermophysical property information such as thermal conductivity.

The NIST web interface also provides the first electronic access to scientific results from the 2002 Mallik research well in Canada, an international geophysical experiment exploring the properties of naturally occurring hydrates and the feasibility of using them as energy resources.

The new database is meant for use by climate modelers, researchers studying the potential recovery of hydrates for practical applications and the petroleum industry, which has long been interested in preventing unprocessed hydrates from infiltrating natural gas pipelines.

The NIST gas hydrates web site uses technology that acts like a desktop computer application. Whereas traditional web interfaces do most of their work on a file server, transmitting information slowly to clients over network connections, the new NIST web interface provides fast, customized service by doing much of the data sorting and presentation on client computers.

NIST developed the database in association with CODATA (the international Committee on Data for Science and Technology). Funding was provided by the National Energy Technology Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy.

The database is available at http://gashydrates.nist.gov.

Media Contact: Laura Ost, laura.ost@nist.gov, 303-497-4880

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New Publication Offers Security Tips for WiMAX Networks

Government agencies and other organizations planning to use WiMAX -- Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access -- networks can get technical advice on improving the security of their systems from a draft computer security guide prepared by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

WiMAX is a wireless protocol that can cover an area that incorporates a few miles such as a campus or small town. It has a larger reach than the more familiar “WiFi” networks used in offices or homes, but smaller than wireless areas covered by cell phones. The technology, guided by standards issued by IEEE, originally was designed to provide last-mile broadband wireless access as an alternative to cable, digital subscriber line (DSL) or T1 service. In recent years its focus has shifted to provide a more cellular-like, mobile architecture to serve a broader audience.

WiMAX was used after the December 2004 tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia after the communication infrastructure was destroyed and also after Hurricane Katrina along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Special Publication 800-127 “Guide to Security for WiMAX Technologies” discusses WiMAX technology’s topologies, components, certifications, security features and related security concerns. It covers the IEEE 802.16 standard for WiMAX and its evolution up to the 2009 version.

The main threat to WiMAX networks occurs when the radio links between WiMAX nodes are compromised. The systems are then susceptible to denial of service attacks, eavesdropping, message modification and resource misappropriation.

SP 800-127 recommends taking advantage of built-in security features to protect the data confidentiality on the network. It also suggests that organizations using WiMAX technology should:

  • Develop a robust WiMAX security policy and enforce it.
  • Pay particular attention to WiMAX technical countermeasure capabilities before implementing WiMAX technology.
  • Use WiMAX technology that supports Extensible Authentication Protocol methods as recommended in NIST SP 800-120 (available at http://www.csrc.nist.gov/publications/PubsSPs.html#800-120.)
  • Implement Federal Information Processing Standards-validated encryption to protect their data communications.

The draft version of NIST SP 800-127 is open for public comment through October 30, 2009. The document is available online at http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/PubsDrafts.html#800-127. Comments should be addressed to 800-127comments@nist.gov with “Comments on Public Draft SP 800-127” in the subject line.

Media Contact: Evelyn Brown, evelyn.brown@nist.gov, 301-975-5661

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New NIST Method Reveals All You Need to Know About ‘Waveforms’

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has unveiled a method for calibrating entire waveforms -- graphical shapes showing how electrical signals vary over time -- rather than just parts of waveforms as is current practice. The new method improves accuracy in calibrations of oscilloscopes, common test instruments that measure voltage in communications and electronics devices, and potentially could boost performance and save money in other fields ranging from medical testing to structural analysis to remote sensing.

A waveform can take many different shapes, from staircase steps to irregular curves. A waveform typically is described by a single number—some key parameter of interest in a particular application. For example, engineers have described waveforms using terms such as pulse duration, or transition time between the levels representing ‘0’ and ‘1’ (the binary code used in digital electronics). But waveforms can be diverse and complex, especially in advanced high-speed devices, and a traditional analysis may not distinguish between similar shapes that differ in subtle ways. The result can be signal mistakes (a 1 mistaken for a 0, for instance) or misidentification of defects.

NIST’s new calibration method* defines waveforms completely, providing both signal reading and measurement uncertainty at regular intervals along the entire wave, and for the first time makes waveform calibrations traceable to fundamental physics. The mathematics-intensive method is laborious and currently is performed only at NIST (which has more than 750 oscilloscopes), but the developers plan to write a software program that will automate the technique and make it transferable to other users.

The new method offers NIST calibration customers, including major manufacturers and the military, more comprehensive characterization of a greater variety of waveforms, and helps to meet current and future demands for measurements at ever-higher frequencies, data rates, and bandwidths. The impact could be far reaching. The global market for oscilloscopes is $1.2 billion. Anecdotal data suggest that for one product alone, Ethernet optical fiber transceivers, industry could save tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars through manufacturing innovations (such as the new NIST method) that reduce component reject rates and/or boost yields.

Of particular interest to scientists and engineers, the NIST calibration method incorporates new techniques for quantifying errors in waveform measurements. This allows, for the first time, accurate transfer of measurement uncertainties between the time domain (results arranged by time) and the frequency domain (the same data arranged by frequency). Researchers in many fields have long used a technique called “Fourier transform,” which reveals patterns in a sequence of numbers, to transfer data from the time domain to the frequency domain. “The new NIST method is, in effect, a Fourier transform for uncertainty,” says NIST physicist Paul Hale.

Although the new method was developed for common lab test instruments, it also may have applications in measuring other types of waveforms, such as those generated in electrocardiograms for medical testing, ultrasound diagnostics of structural defects and failures, speech recognition, seismology and other remote sensing activities.

* P. Hale, A. Dienstfrey, J.C.M. Wang, D.F. Williams, A. Lewandowski, D.A. Keenan and T.S. Clement. Traceable waveform calibration with a covariance-based uncertainty analysis. IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement. Vol. 58, No. 10. Oct.

Media Contact: Laura Ost, laura.ost@nist.gov, 303-497-4880

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Convoy Returns World Trade Center Steel to New York City

After seven years on the Gaithersburg, Md., campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), more than 200 pieces of structural steel recovered from the World Trade Center towers have been returned to their owner, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Examination of the steel had been an integral part of NIST’s multiyear technical investigation into the probable causes of the collapses of the WTC towers following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. On Sept. 29, a convoy of 25 tractor trailers carried the steel from WTC 1 and 2 to New York City.

convoy of trucks with WTC steel

Tractor trailor convoy prepares to leave NIST carrying steel from the World Trade Center home to New York City.

Credit: Porter, NIST
View hi-resolution image

The tractor trailers, each carrying between 10,000 and 30,000 pounds (approximately 4,500 to 13,600 kilograms) of steel, traveled with a police escort along major highways, attracting attention from motorists and television traffic helicopters. Many of the trucks were decorated with American flags and “Never Forget 9/11” posters honoring the firefighters, police, and others who lost their lives on that day.

The steel transported from NIST is being stored at the Port Authority hangar at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport that houses previously saved pieces of steel, damaged vehicles and other artifacts from Ground Zero. The Port Authority has announced that it will consider requests for use of individual steel pieces for memorials or exhibits (Requests should be sent via the e-mail feedback form on the Port Authority’s Web site, www.panynj.gov/feedback.php.).

All of the WTC steel pieces returned to New York City were catalogued as part of the NIST investigation. NIST has retained all of the samples that were extracted from the recovered steel and examined during the investigation in case retesting is ever required. A few whole pieces also were retained with permission from the Port Authority for possible future display at NIST.

For more information on the NIST WTC investigation, go to http://wtc.nist.gov.

Media Contact: Michael E. Newman, michael.newman@nist.gov, 301-975-3025

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Standards Development Plan for ‘Smart Grid’ Announced

On Sept. 24, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced an accelerated plan for developing standards to transform the U.S. power distribution system into a 'Smart Grid' that would be more secure, more efficient and environmentally friendly, and create clean-energy jobs.

"To use an analogy from the construction world, this report is like a designer's first detailed drawing of a complex structure," said Locke, "It presents a high-level conceptual model to ensure that everyone is on the same page before moving forward to develop more detailed, formal Smart Grid architectures. This high-level model is critical to help plan where to go next."

Produced by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the document identifies about 80 initial standards that will enable the vast number of interconnected devices and systems that will make up the nationwide Smart Grid to communicate and work with each other. These standards will support interoperability of all the various pieces of the system—ranging from large utility companies down to individual homes and electronic devices. The report also lists a set of 14 "priority action plans" that address the most important gaps in the initial standard set.

When completed, the Smart Grid will employ real-time, two-way digital information and communication technologies in the operation of the nation's electricity grid. The system would allow consumers to better manage and control their energy use and costs, reduce America's dependence on foreign oil and create clean-energy jobs.

The draft report, entitled NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 1.0, incorporates input from more than 1,500 industry, government and other stakeholders who have participated in the NIST framework development process. The companion draft document, NISTIR 7628 Smart Grid Cyber Security Strategy and Requirements, was prepared by an expert task group now composed of more than 200 volunteers. Both reports can be downloaded from the NIST Smart Grid web site at: www.nist.gov/smartgrid/ Opportunities for review and comment on each report will be announced in separate Federal Register notices on Oct. 9.

For more information, see the Sept. 24 news release "Commerce Secretary Unveils Plan for Smart Grid Interoperability." at www.nist.gov/public_affairs/releases/smartgrid_092409.html

Media Contact: Mark Bello, mark.bello@nist.gov, 301-975-3776

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November Workshop to Examine Challenges to Innovation in Advanced Manufacturing

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is holding the “National Workshop on Challenges to Innovation in Advanced Manufacturing: Industry Drivers and R&D Needs” at its Gaithersburg, Md. campus November 3-4. The workshop’s goal is to identify the key industry factors driving innovation in advanced manufacturing technology and the measurement- and standards-related research and development needed to enable these innovations.

“This workshop is part of NIST’s commitment to focus on the critical role of technological innovation in promoting a healthy future for U.S. manufacturing,” says Howard Harary, Manufacturing and Engineering Laboratory acting director and workshop chair. “Wide participation from the manufacturing sectors is essential to identifying the most important cross-cutting issues.”

Discussions will cover sustainability, flexibility, advanced processes, supply chain integration, science-based modeling and simulation, manufacturing networks and communications, and automation and robots. Other topics will include intelligence and optimization of manufacturing systems, high throughput, high-accuracy measurement technologies for factory floor production and the increased pace of innovation cycles.

Register on-line at www.nist.gov/mel/advmanuwkshp.cfm. Reporters interested in attending should contact Evelyn Brown (301) 975-5661, evelyn.brown@nist.gov.

Media Contact: Evelyn Brown, evelyn.brown@nist.gov, 301-975-5661

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Webinars on Planning for Smart Grid Panel Announced

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will hold three one-hour "webinars" to brief the diverse Smart Grid community on its progress toward establishing a panel to coordinate the continuing development of interoperability and cyber security standards for a modern electric power system. The Smart Grid incorporates digital computing and communications technology in the nation’s electric power infrastructure, enabling two way flows of electricity and information. The planned Smart Grid Interoperability Panel will identify, prioritize and address new and emerging requirements for Smart Grid standards. It will further develop the initial NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards, Release 1.0, which was released for public review on Sept. 24. Running from 11 a.m. to noon (Eastern time), webinars will be offered on Oct. 9, Oct. 28, and Nov. 12. For more details and for registration information, go to: www.nist.gov/smartgrid/webinars.html.

The launch of the standards panel will take place in Denver, on Nov. 16, at the beginning of Grid-Interop 2009.

Media Contact: Michael Baum, baum@nist.gov, 301-975-2763

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Scripps Director Joins NIST Advisory Group

Tony Haymet, director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, has been chosen to serve on the primary policy advisory body of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST deputy director Patrick D. Gallagher appointed Haymet to NIST's Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology (VCAT). Dr. Haymet's three-year term runs through August 31, 2012.

In addition to serving several positions at Scripps and UC San Diego, Haymet is co-founder of CleanTECH San Diego, a business organization devoted to advancing the clean technology economy. Haymet has published more than 165 peer-reviewed articles. He has specialized in strategic research planning, partnerships and safety issues, especially in field and laboratory work.

Prior to arriving at Scripps in 2006, Haymet worked at the University of Houston (where he established its Environmental Modeling Institute), the University of Sydney (where he served as professor and chair of theoretical chemistry), Harvard University, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Utah. Haymet received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Chicago and was awarded a Doctor of Science at the University of Sydney in 1997.

The VCAT was established by Congress in 1988 to review and make recommendations on NIST’s policies, organization, budget and programs, and was recently updated by the 2007 America COMPETES Act. The next VCAT meeting will take place October 14-15, 2009, in Boulder, Co.

For a list of all members and more information, see the VCAT Web page at www.nist.gov/director/vcat/.

Media Contact: Ben Stein, ben.stein@nist.gov, 301-975-3097

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