By J. Nicholas Hoover
November 25, 2009
As it takes on research and standardization in the areas of healthcare
IT, smart grid, and cybersecurity, the National Institute of Standards
and technology has a "critically important" role to play, according to
NIST's new director, Patrick Gallagher.
A 16-year NIST veteran and former deputy director, Gallagher's
appointment as confirmed by the Senate earlier this month. "What you're
going to see is a small parade of things that will become critically
important to solving government or national problems where we'll have to
tackle them," Gallagher said in an interview.
IT has become an important focus of NIST's efforts. While better known
for its work in physics and science -- the agency sets official time in
the United States -- NIST's IT work is every bit as significant,
Gallagher says. The agency's IT Laboratory accounts for much of the
institute's overall lab budget.
NIST, which was given some authority over smart grid standards in 2007,
in September released a framework and road map for smart grid
interoperability. NIST recently held the first meeting of the Smart Grid
Interoperability Panel, which will help set standards. It's a pressing,
and challenging, task given that government and private utilities are
expected to spend $8.1 billion on smart grid projects over the next
three years as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
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