Tuesday, May 26, 2015

More Collaboration within PlugFest Community

The Continuous Transformation Environment (CTE) Gov enclave is a secure environment currently providing demonstrations, experimentation and support.

According to Thomas W. Preston, Chairman, CTE Center for Research and Research Professor, GMU, "We are here to assist when you need the environment. "Secure Net" within our unclassified environment, aligned with ICITE,  houses the necessary framework , links, nodes and platforms to test, verify and simulate operationally relevant capabilities needed to fill the gaps and understand where/how those solutions would fit (or not) in a Joint Information Environment (JIE) for distributed solutions to the war fighter."

CTE includes a scif'd environment as well,  which is ready to review and adapt successful capabilities with those relevant solutions relative to necessary MLS  environment and are supported by the Intelligence Community and DoD.  

Efforts are continuing across the PlugFest Community for collaborative research and verification with Industry, Government and Academia.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The PlugFest Plus Platform

This year’s PlugFest Plus leverages a continuously provided platform for:

        • Participants to remotely develop, test, and demonstrate their capabilities
        • Operators to use the new capabilities in a representative environment
        • Evaluators to have complete understanding of the platform on which testing occurs

The common environment was created in Hanscom milCloud (HmC) and is identical for all participants. The HmC resource provides an industry standard, x86 cloud resource for development and test activities.

The environment provides complete control of the “Government Furnished Equipment”, including custom templates, image files and data. Participants can deploy environments on demand, at their convenience (with a push of a button) and not worry about breaking anything or performing complex installation instructions.  Each participant has as many working integrated GEOINT Workflow Enhancement (GWE) environments as needed that do the following in their private cloudspace:

        • Deploys and configures UnicornDB, SOCET GXP v4.1, and GDES v0.12.0 (detailed asset list below)
        • Joins a domain that includes a SOCET GXP license server and a shared drive
        • Adds and configures unique users for each team
        • Mounts the shared image server with appropriate permissions for each team

Every time the deployment is launched it is automatically built in the exact same way for each participant. If participants need to include a new or updated piece of software (e.g., different version of Firefox or JDK) or make any configuration updates they change that part of the “recipe" and redeploy immediately. Users can also deploy multiple copies in parallel, up to their capacity limit in the cloudspace. People with the appropriate permissions can remotely access this environment. Specifics of the on-demand environment include:

        • SOCET GXP Client
                • Windows Server R2 2008
                • Firefox 30
                • Notepad Plus Plus
                • 7-Zip
                • Adobe Acrobat Reader
                • Oracle JDK for Windows
                • SOCET GXP 4.1
                        • PostgreSQL
                        • Video Codecs
                        • Dev Kit
                        • GWE Configuration
        • SOCET license server
        • Custom Image Templates
        • OBC NITF Imagery Share
        • Writeable workspace
        • SOCET license server
        • Unicorn Database
        • GDES Client
                • Firefox 30
                • Notepad Plus Plus
                • 7-Zip
                • Adobe Acrobat Reader
                • Oracle JDK for Windows
                • Nitro NITF for Windows
                • pGina for Windows
                • DDF for Windows
                • GDES

Monday, May 18, 2015

The persistent plugfest environment

Your participation in PlugFest is most likely due to your goals in helping warfighters get their job done, saving lives in a disaster, or training our future decision makers and technology providers.

Years of PlugFest events have been fine tuned to those same goals. However, you have often had  had to help set up the network, load your technology, and meet the other players for the first time.

We may be nearing a dream that many of us have had, to have a persistent environment that would shorten the time to get started, because the necessary technical components would already be connected, and many of the key players would already know each other and each other's technology.

The persistent PlugFest environment would continuously
  • provide and platform for testing and selecting government IT systems
  • make it easy to provide needed capability in emergencies
  • research agile acquisition best practices, and train our future leaders and technology providers
What do you think the persistent PlugFest environment would do?

#PlugFest #PlugFestPlus #AgileAcquisition

Monday, May 11, 2015



New graduates with strong software development skill are in high demand across the USA. Defense and Intelligence systems that provide an edge in today's fractious international environment are software-intensive and need competent new developers. Sad to say, the recent track record for such software is not good; the rapid, user-oriented development capability associated with plugfesting addresses some of their key weaknesses. Thus a working familiarity with plugfesting is highly desirable in new hires to develop Defense and Intelligence software.
Two institutions of higher learning in particular have established track records in working with students to prepare them for plugfesting. These are San Diego State University (SDSU) and George Mason University (GMU). The two share some common characteristics: they are located in areas where Defense and Intelligence software development is highly active; they take an innovative, technology-focused approach to education; and many of their students go on to work for Defense and Intelligence contractors.
On behalf of myself and of Steve Price of SDSU, I’m here to report that:
-       The standard IEEE/ACM curriculum in Computer Science does not yet include Web Applications, the core skill set for plugfesting; so we are starting our own elective courses
-       Our students perform very well in plugfesting, given adequate orientation and mentorship
-       It is hard to get student attention to plugfesting because of the wide variety of other topics that attract their attention and the limited hours students have available for extra-curricular activities given their full schedules (many of them have part-time jobs)
-       We have demonstrated that, if we have resources to provide an attractive environment for plugfesting, we are able to engage more students
Bottom line: plugfesting is a great way to prepare students for improved Defense and Intelligence software development; but competition for student attention is fierce; with more resources we could do it more effectively.
Mark Pullen
Professor of Computer Science
George Mason University

Friday, May 8, 2015

Government Innovation Forum to focus on Enabling Secure and Agile Operations

Anyone know about the 2015 Government Innovation Forum to focus on Enabling Secure and Agile Operations. The website claims the forum provides the opportunity to dialog and learn how to secure and optimize agency business with:

Emerging technologies for government applications
Dynamic tools and strategies to address current cybersecurity threats
Proven approaches to advance cloud, mobile, and collaboration initiatives
Innovation to evolve Federal IT performance, availability, and security
Perspectives on making progress with Enterprise IT—from Information to Innovation

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Top Coder Competitions

The topcoder community brings many of the world’s best talent together in one place to compete, collaborate and learn from one another. Topcoder is a collaborative community competes together to make everyone better practitioners of the technology that they are passionate about.
Topcoder has three “tracks” of competition: Design, Development and Data Science. Within these tracks. Real world complex systems are broken into a variety of competitions letting topcoders work on the areas they know best like graphic design, prototyping, architecting solutions, algorithms or developing code.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Guest Blogger Needed

If you have questions, comments, or insight, we would love to add your input into the PlugFest Plus Blog. Email me at Eric@plugfestplus.org.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

First European Protocols PlugFest

The Microsoft Interop team is pleased to announce their involvement in the first ever Protocols Plugfest located in Europe! The event will take place on May 12th – 14th, 2015 in Zaragoza, Spain at the Center for Art and Technology: Etopia.

--PlugFest Consortium