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  • A Microelectronic “Canary in a Coal Mine”

    A Microelectronic “Canary in a Coal Mine”A Call to a New Approach for National Security Introduction The United States no longer has the manufacturing capability or access to materials needed for continued economic growth and prosperity for our people. The United States is entering a period of increased national security risk due to lack of access to specific goods and products. One specific industrial sector—microelectronics—is emblematic of the issue. A similar argument could be posed…

    In Articles by Honorable Alan R. Shaffer
  • Securing Critical Supply Chains

    Strategies for Sovereignty Over Critical Supplies During times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the significance of securing critical supply chains to uphold national security becomes evident. How can the United States maintain sovereignty and protect its interests when our economy and national security are dependent on external, global supplies of services and products? We discuss three strategies that the United States can adopt to maintain full sovereignty over critical supply chains: Fully US…

    In Articles by Michael S. Swetnam and Jennifer Buss, PhD
  • Authentication Using Biometrics: How to Prove Who You Are

    It is increasingly important to be able to prove that you are who you say you are. Logging into a computer, operating an ATM, voting, and making purchases on credit all require authentication. The field of biometrics studies anatomical, physiological, and behavioral attributes of humans that can be used to distinguish one person from others. Historically, modalities like fingerprints have been used to uniquely identify a person. Biometric measures can be used to authenticate a…

    In Articles by Robert Hummel, PhD; Timothy W. Bumpus, PhD; Alyssa Adcock, PhD; and Sharon Layani
  • Can Humans Think?

    In 1950, Alan Turing famously asked the question, “Can Machines Think?” His seminal paper, “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” led to the introduction of the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Alan Turing did not answer his own question, although he speculated that by the year 2000, machines would have passed his test for what he believed would constitute thinking, which became known as “the Turing test.” But can a machine really think, or is it somehow…

    In Articles by Robert Hummel, PhD
  • Autonomous Vehicles: What’s the Deal?

    Autonomous vehicle technology promises to make driverless vehicles a reality. Yet the introduction of commercial driverless vehicles has been delayed, and there are warning signals that perhaps the technology will not be ready any time soon. We list some of the warnings, successes to date, and challenges to their introduction and integration into the transportation enterprise. We note some particular special cases where introduction might be possible in the short term. One difficulty is that…

    In Articles by Robert Hummel, PhD
  • Re-Embrace American Science and Technology Reimagine, Reinvent, Restart

    America must invest in bold, imaginative, and inspirational endeavors to tackle the hardest challenges facing the world–challenges which may only be overcome through inspired scientific research and inventive technological development. As Americans begin emerging from the pandemic’s long shadow, we look to the future and find ourselves at a unique crossroads. Congress and the Biden administration are considering massive infrastructure investments, economic stimuli, and funding for science and technology—programs on a scale not seen in…

    In Articles by Jennifer Buss, PhD
  • Synthetic Biology

    Introduction The term “synthetic biology” was coined over a century ago. Since then, synthetic biology has grown into a diverse, multidisciplinary field that leverages tools, techniques, and ideas from biology, chemistry, engineering, computer science, medicine, bioinformatics, and many other fields. Closely allied to bioengineering, synthetic biology aims to create new biological elements or redesign existing processes found in nature. Recent scientific breakthroughs and commercial tools have ushered in new advancements and opportunities. The development of…

    In Articles by Timothy W. Bumpus, PhD; Sharon Layani; and Alyssa Adcock, PhD

The FDA has granted emergency authorization to Quest Diagnostics to sell a Zika virus test. This is the first commercially developed test that diagnoses the Zika virus. Quest Diagnostics planned to make the tests available to doctors, which expands their availability from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention laboratories. Infection with the Zika virus can present no symptoms, so the test will allow people who live in or have traveled to an area with Zika virus transmission to know if they are infected. The Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allows the use of certain medical products after an emergency has been declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Due to Zika’s significant potential for a public health emergency, the Secretary of HHS declared that the emergency use of in-vitro diagnostic tests for Zika is justified. See: http://www.fda.gov/EmergencyPreparedness/Counterterrorism/MedicalCountermeasures/MCMIssues/ucm485199.htm#eua.

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