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EL Highlights December 2013

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Model-Based Enterprise Summit brings together Industry and U.S. Defense Customers

NIST's Engineering Laboratory (EL) and the Office of the Secretary of Defense hosted the fifth Model-Based Enterprise (MBE) Summit at NIST December 18-19. Over 140 manufacturing specialists from industry and government met to share the latest research, technological developments, and best practices for MBE. (MBE is an approach where a digital three-dimensional model of a product serves as the authoritative information source for all activities in the product's lifecycle, including design, manufacturing, and quality assurance.) 

Presentations and expert panels supported the four technical thrusts of this year's event: 1) Product Lifecycle Management Integration, 2) Model-Based Systems Engineering, 3) Model-Based Manufacturing, and 4) Model-Based Work Instructions. Participants received a range of information tailored to impart a better understanding of the barriers, challenges, successes, and rewards shared by other designers, manufacturers, and operators as they continue to deepen implementation of MBE practices.

Contact: Mark Carlisle, (301) 975-3982

NIST Hosts Workshop on Industrial Control System Security

EL researcher Keith Stouffer organized and conducted a two-day Roadmapping Workshop on Measurement of Security Technology Performance Impacts for Industrial Control Systems held at NIST on December 4-5. The 66 participants represented a balanced cross-section of industrial control system (ICS) stakeholder groups, including manufacturers, technology providers, solution providers, university researchers, and government agencies. The workshop covered high-priority topics such as ICS security technologies, architectures, and testbeds, and the modeling and simulation of ICS security performance. Workshop participants identified and prioritized measurement science barriers, challenges, and gaps that prevent the broad use of security technologies for ICS, focusing particularly on needs for determining how ICS performance aspects such as timing, stability, reliability, and safety are impacted when security technologies are implemented. Participants also identified research and development needed to address the priority measurement and standards challenges. The workshop results will serve as the foundation for development of a measurement science roadmap for ICS security performance impact research at NIST. New methods and metrics for measuring the performance impact of security technologies will promote innovation and facilitate the development and adoption of security technologies to reduce cyber risks in industrial control systems that serve vital functions for the Nation's critical infrastructure.

Contact: Keith Stouffer, (301) 975-3877

Programmatic/Technical Accomplishments 

NIST Supports DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials

NIST Engineering Laboratory researchers were instrumental in the design and execution of the recent Robotics Challenge Trials held by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). DARPA devised this challenge program to spur research and development in hardware and software to enable a new breed of robot that can work with humans to respond to hazardous situations, akin to the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. The two-year program concluded its first year with a set of trials, held at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida during December. NIST expertise in the testing and evaluation of advanced robotic systems is being leveraged to ensure the success of this program. For the trials, NIST collaboratively designed and built a set of eight test methods that the competing robots had to perform to score points. The test methods were intended to measure the abilities of robots to perform abstractions of representative tasks inside a disaster zone (e.g., climbing a ladder, opening a door, turning a valve), while the robot operators remain out of harm's way. Sixteen teams competed, with most teams scoring at least some points. The eight top-scoring teams will be funded by DARPA to continue in the competition, which culminates with a more realistic, scenario-based challenge in about a year. Members of the NIST team who traveled to Florida to construct the test methods, help DARPA with the very high-profile event, and tear down afterwards were Adam Jacoff, Ann Virts, Rick Norcross, Kam Saidi, Hui-Min Huang, and Dave Schmitt (from Plant Division). Further information about the Robotics Challenge Trials can be found in a NIST Tech Beat article at or from

Contact: Adam Jacoff, (301) 975-4235 

Quality Information Framework (QIF) Version 1.0 Approved as ANSI Standard

For the past five years, NIST Engineering Laboratory researchers Bill Rippey, John Horst, John Michaloski, and Tom Kramer contributed to development of a set of specifications critical to the manufacturing quality measurement process – collectively known as the Quality Information Framework (QIF). The QIF Version 1.0 was approved as a U.S. national standard by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in December. This achievement resulted from the efforts of many manufacturing quality experts through the Dimensional Metrology Standards Consortium (DMSC). The key principle of QIF is that all information models for representing quality data are derived from common model libraries, so that common information components can be reused throughout the entire quality measurement process.

QIF covers the data interoperability needs for a wide range of quality assurance applications, including feature-based dimensional metrology, quality measurement planning, first article inspection, and discrete quality measurement. This standard addresses an interoperability gap that currently costs the manufacturing sector hundreds of millions of dollars annually. NIST contributions to this new standard included definition and development of the QIF information model, development of technical documentation and publications, leadership of technical working groups and standards committees, and verification and validation testing of draft specifications. The QIF information models are aligned with existing national and international quality standards, such as the ANSI/ASME Y14.5 Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) and the ISO 22093:2010 Dimensional Measuring Interface Standard (DMIS). Further information about the Quality Information Framework and its uses can be found at

Contact: John Horst, (301) 975-3430

NIST Smart Grid Team Receives the PMI Distinguished Project Award [EL, PML, ITL]

The NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) Program received the 2013 Project Management Institute's (PMI) Distinguished Project Award at the annual PMI Global Congress award ceremony in New Orleans at the end of October 2013. This project was led by the NIST Smart Grid Office in EL and was a cross-laboratory effort including EL, PML and ITL.

Each year, a PMI panel of project management experts reviews submissions from all over the world to select the winners of this prestigious, globally-recognized award. As one of only three recipients awarded, the PMI Distinguished Project Award recognizes and honors successful projects, and the achievements of the project team for superior performance of project management.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) initiated the SGIP to support NIST in fulfilling its responsibility, under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, to coordinate and accelerate the standards development for the Smart Grid. Established in late 2009, the SGIP was a public/private partnership that defined requirements for essential communication protocols and other common specifications and coordinated development of these standards through collaboration with many standards development organizations. The project management of this effort was significant and wide-reaching, with all aspects of the organization established and managed by NIST and its contractor, EnerNex Corporation. In 2012, the SGIP was comprised of over 780 member organizations representing 22 stakeholder categories, including international organizations, federal agencies as well as state and local regulators; nearly 2,000 individuals have participated in SGIP activities. Based on its accomplishments and management, the NIST SGIP program has become a model within government for leveraging public/private partnerships to achieve significant mission goals.

NIST has facilitated the transition of the SGIP into a self-sustaining non-profit organization, SGIP 2.0, Inc., with the majority of funding to come from industry stakeholders. The new SGIP became active in January 2013, and NIST maintains an active leadership role and continues to support SGIP's mission to coordinate all Smart Grid stakeholders to accelerate standards harmonization and advance the Interoperability of Smart Grid devices and systems.

Contact: Paul Boynton, (301) 975-3014 and Cuong Nguyen, (301) 975-2254

NIST Builds Test Case Browser to Support Validation of Product & Manufacturing Information

NIST has created a test system to measure conformance of Computer-Aided Designs to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers standards for Product and Manufacturing Information (PMI), specifically geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) information. The test cases are useful for determining whether computer-aided design software correctly implements the standards. PMI includes geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, 3D annotations, surface texture specifications, finish  requirements, process notes, material specifications, welding symbols, and other information. PMI standards define the semantics of the words and symbols used to communicate manufacturing information in 3D computer models. 

Semantic PMI (PMI defined using a computer language) will allow software developers to automate various design and manufacturing functions because the engineering application software associated with these functions can process the PMI directly. Unambiguous representation and presentation of PMI are critical for digital product definition; the PMI data is often stored for downstream engineering and manufacturing applications throughout the product lifecycle. NIST's test system, known simply as, Test Case Browser, is available for providing test cases to those interested in validating their PMI implementations:

Contact: Joshua Lubell, (301) 975-3563

Created January 30, 2014, Updated September 21, 2016