President Obama today announced the establishment of an annual National Lab Day, a nationwide initiative to foster scientific and mathematic experimentation and invention in young Americans through collaborations between volunteers, students and educators. He also announced the opening of the National Lab Day website, a site that we had the honor of building with Jack Hidary, chairman of the National Lab Day and the Jack D. Hidary Foundation. The site connects scientists and engineers with students and classrooms needing their mentorship, their enthusiasm for science, and their spark.
National Lab Day will take place every year in the first week of May.
We are pleased to be able to contribute to this effort, designed to foster the kind of inquiry that brought us all into the world of technology. We encourage scientists and technologists across the country to sign up to volunteer. In the words of President Obama, “I want us all to think about new and creative ways to engage young people in science and engineering, whether it’s science festivals, robotics competitions, fairs that encourage young people to create and build and invent — to be makers of things, not just consumers of things.”
We hope that this initiative plants the seeds of innovation in the next generation of young scientists and entrepreneurs.
Today I spent the day on Capitol Hill, presenting the Open Source Digital Voting Foundation to the 12th Annual Tech Exhibition of the Congressional Internet Caucus. OSDV is a non-profit foundation working to build open source solutions for voter and election management, as a way to increase the transparency of elections, restore confidence in the vote, and reduce the cost to states and counties to implement such systems.
The application we were showing was one we’ve been developing with them for the past 8 weeks, an online voter registration tracking system, called Reggie. It’s designed to help eligible voters to register to vote, and to track their registration process; and to give registrars greater oversight and auditability.
By applying agile methods and leveraging Ruby on Rails, we were able to deliver a fully test-driven alpha product in just 8 weeks from the initial scoping meeting, during the holiday season, with a single pair of developers.
OSDV has had serious interest from a number of State Secretaries and registrars, and hopes to pilot with at least one state in the coming months.
Pivotal-developed projects like this one, Peer to Patent, and Casebook apply modern web technologies to improve the efficiency and transparency of government. We’re proud to work on projects like this one, and to be an agent for change.