Three of this year's Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) began work at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on June 18, 2013, helping the institute address issues relating to connecting networks of machines, facilities and people, and also to help energy consumers make better use of their energy usage data.
The PIF program pairs top innovators from the private sector, nonprofits and academia with top innovators in government to work on challenges whose solutions could provide immediate benefits and cost-savings to American citizens, entrepreneurs and businesses. The three NIST fellows, who were selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants, will serve a 12-month "tour of duty."
Two of NIST's fellows, Geoff Mulligan and Sokwoo Rhee, will work on cyber-physical systems (CPS). These new "smart systems" will combine networking, information and communication technologies to optimize system performance in real time. Accelerated development of CPS is expected to yield new manufactured products and services in a range of industry sectors essential to U.S. competitiveness, including manufacturing, transportation, energy, health care and defense. NIST's fellows will lead a multidisciplinary team of experts from the private and public sectors and work for consensus in developing a framework consisting of high-level reference architecture, standards and protocols for CPS.
Mulligan has been instrumental in Internet development, recently having helped design IPv6, the latest version of the communications protocol that routes traffic across the Internet. He holds over 15 patents in computer security, networking and electronic mail, and was called to testify before Congress on electronic commerce and computer security.
Rhee is an entrepreneur who helped to initiate the cyber-physical systems and "internet of things" industry in the early 2000s. His work and achievements have been recognized by multiple awards including MIT Technology Review's Top Innovators under 35.
NIST's third fellow, John Teeter, will work on the Green Button Initiative, which aims to enable energy customers to download their energy usage data securely in machine-readable format directly from utilities. He will be part of a "Green Button for America" team, the other member of which will work from the Department of Energy. A key goal will be to provide leadership to enhance Green Button data consistency through testing and certification, based on feedback from consumers, vendors and utilities.
Teeter has a 40-year history in the electrical and technology industries, including most recently as chief scientist for People Power, a software company enabling remote control and management of connected devices from mobile devices. Teeter was the founder and CEO of First Step Research, prior to which he was a founder and VP of Engineering at Gold Hill Computers.
The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) runs the PIF program, now in its second year, and asked agencies across the government to propose new research areas to expand the PIF program for this year. NIST's two proposals were among those selected, bringing the number of project areas up to nine from last year's five. Fellows are funded by the sponsoring agencies.
More information is available in the White House blog post, "New Round of Innovators Joins US Government to Tackle Big Challenges."