By Joyce M. Conant, ARL Public AffairsSeptember 11, 2017
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Researchers from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory were among the nearly 200 guests and participants at the DOD's Basic Research Office's Science, Technology and Innovation exchange, or STIx, held in Crystal City, Virginia, Aug. 24 - 25.
STIx provides members of DOD's science and technology community -- both internal and external -- a forum to discuss new ideas and opportunities for progress across the defense research enterprise. According to its website, STIx is a "series of talks and seeks to showcase and connect our brightest minds, communicate new ideas and share novel approaches to confronting old challenges facing the Defense community. STIx takes its cues from TED and TEDx."
The invited speakers included researchers from universities, DOD laboratories and students participating in the Science, Math and Research for Transformation scholarship program and the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship.
Their 12 minute talks or demonstrations followed the TED talk format and were based on the theme of "The Big Questions" facing the DOD from a science and technology standpoint. The event was live streamed on YouTube.
The event targeted middle and high school administrators, educators and students, university administrators, professors, researchers, graduate students, industry researchers, and R&D executives, and anyone from the public interested in learning about basic research in the DOD.
Dr. Robin Staffin, director for Basic Research in the Office of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering said he is looking at different ways of doing research and learning. He indicated the event was the first try at this type of forum.
"STIx gives us incredible diversity across the Defense enterprise, including industry and academia. We've got an exceptionally diverse group talking about science, technology, innovation and humanity -- broad set of missions for DOD -- it's about unity of the mission," said Staffin, who has responsibility for oversight and coordination of basic research activities throughout DOD.
Dr. Daniel Cole from ARL's Vehicle Technology Directorate spoke about additive manufacturing and addressed the big question "Why don't we just 3-D print all of it?"
Cole discussed some of the major challenges facing the additive manufacturing community, including fundamental issues with processing-structure-property relationships and the need for more testing standards. He touched on the cultural shifts needed for additive manufacturing to become more widespread and took a playful jab at Navy football with a 3-D printed scoreboard from the 2016 Army-Navy game.
"This event was a great opportunity to present our research in a dynamic and non-technical forum," Cole said. "We also got to learn about a variety of other basic research projects happening across the DOD."
Dr. Jaret Riddick, acting chief of VTD's Mechanics Division said it was a very important forum for the DOD to innovate and collaborate. He said ARL is fortunate to have forward thinking subject matter experts who can represent the lab.
New to the lab and representing ARL's Network Security Branch was Dr. Charles Kamhoua. He gave his talk on the "Cyber Physical Security Game."
Kamhoua presented a game theoretic modeling of cyber-physical security threats and how to automatically find the best countermeasures. He identified cyber physical systems that are pervasive in today's battlefield. He also highlighted the need for theoretical constructs or mathematical abstractions to provide a rigorous scientific basis for cyber security to ensure dominant strategic land power.
"This event present an opportunity for DOD scientists to communicate their research to the general public," said Kamhoua. "I am happy to increase the public's understanding of cyber security threats."
Jerry Clarke, chief of ARL's Network Security Branch said that in addition to experts in cyber operations, ARL is fortunate to have top level scientists who perform critical basic research into cyber security in an effort to help the United States achieve cyber overmatch for the conflict after next.
"Being able to communicate this vital mission at an event like STIx can help provide new collaborative opportunities as well as attracting additional talent," said Clark.
Dr. Mary Harper, ARL's deputy chief scientist attended the two-day event. She mused, "This is a great event to help researchers draw connections among a variety of fields of science and engineering and aim higher to solve the problems we will face in 30-50 years. Many of the talks also highlighted just why careers in these fields are so amazing!"
The U.S. Army Research Laboratory, currently celebrating 25 years of excellence in Army science and technology, is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities for decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the Joint Warfighter and the Nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.