AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

Ten Highlights from the 2018 AWS Public Sector Summit – DC

From skin cancer detection through the SkinVision app to a virtual tour of the White House through the White House Experience app, technology is bringing the previously unimaginable into the hands of the public. Over 100 customers shared their stories of cloud transformation at the AWS Public Sector Summit in Washington, D.C, and we had a front row seat to the action.

Read on for ten highlights from the 2018 AWS Public Sector Summit in Washington, D.C:

15 hours of machine learning (ML) hacking at the Nonprofit Hackathon: Summit kicked off on Monday, June 18th, with 15 hours of hacking at the inaugural Nonprofit Hackathon with the mission to solve five different challenges around the use of machine learning technology to build artificial intelligence (AI) solutions in times of crisis. The AWS customers featured at the hackathon were Best Friends Animal Society, GameChanger Charity, Polaris, Thorn, and WeRobotics. The winning team developed a solution to identify disaster-affected regions using an AI pipeline model.

The first-ever Earth & Space on AWS event: Innovation didn’t stop at the hackathon. On Tuesday, June 19th, attendees chose from bootcamps, workshops, and certifications. Space technologists and enthusiasts also attended our first-ever Earth and Space on AWS event with speakers from Blue Origin, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), DigitalGlobe, and others. Read the recap here.

AWS Educate and NOVA announce cloud computing degree: On Wednesday, June 20th – 21st, Teresa Carlson, VP of AWS Worldwide Public Sector, welcomed over 9,000 attendees to the ninth annual AWS Public Sector Summit and reaffirmed AWS’s commitment to training with the announcement of a Cloud Computing specialization as part of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA)’s Information Systems Technology (IST) Associate of Applied Science degree. “Potential and talent is universal; for opportunity, that’s not always the case,” said Scott Rails, President of NOVA.

VMware announced availability of VMware Cloud on AWS in AWS GovCloud (US): VMware Cloud on AWS is designed to improve IT efficiency and help lower costs as agencies transition to the cloud by enabling them to deploy and run applications on familiar VMware software-defined data center software on AWS GovCloud (US). VMware Cloud on AWS in AWS GovCloud (US) will provide government organizations with a fast and seamless onramp to the cloud so they can enhance services immediately, not only for their constituents, but also for their employees.

GameChanger brings VR to hospitals: Boredom is one of the often overlooked challenges of hospital stays. GameChanger Charity is doing all that they can to help patients see beyond the hospital room. For those at end-of-life or in hospice, GameChanger (powered by Amazon Sumerian), provides a custom virtual reality (VR) set to let them experience the world as they wish. GameChanger activities helps patients’ pain drop as much as six points on a 10-point pain scale.

Accelerating healthcare innovation with Genome Institute of Singapore: Another example of an AWS customer accelerating healthcare innovation is the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS). Using AWS has enhanced GIS’s international collaborations, sharing data that is always up-to-date across continents much faster than in the past. Advances by GIS research scientists will enable speedier applications both for individual health care and to address infectious outbreaks, so that the nation can take preventive measures to save more lives.

CIA calls the cloud “transformative” and secure: “The cloud, on its weakest day, is more secure,” said Sean Roche, Associate Deputy Director of CIA for Digital Innovation. Sean took to the keynote stage to talk about how the cloud has given the CIA the opportunity to evaluate which legacy technology systems are worth keeping and whether there are other high-quality products the agency should be using instead. “It’s been nothing short of transformational,” Roche said. “It has transformed our ability to build new capabilities.”

SEC gives tips on IT modernization: “What did we do to deal with some of the challenges related to technology?” asked Pamela Dyson, CIO of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). “We did what most people did — we modernized our infrastructure, we virtualized servers, we consolidated data centers, we did a lot of business process re-engineering to automate our processes and digitize the way that we were doing work. We also built enterprise-level platforms like our enterprise data warehouse, so we could federate work across the agency.” The SEC’s modernization efforts are continuing to drive more innovation now and into the future to better serve the investor and American public. “We want to do more to empower analytics and innovation – more with big data, AI, ML,” said Pamela.

A special visit to Mars with NASA JPL: Wednesday closed with a special keynote address by Tom Soderstrom, IT Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Does Mars house life? We don’t know yet but Mars 2020 is our next rover on Mars. Will it work? We hope so, but I love that NASA is willing to try,” said Tom. Experimentation and thinking big are what NASA JPL is known for. “We have found Earth-like planets, but they are really far away so we need propulsion. Today we are looking to detect wobbles that probably means it’s a planet or a bigger sun. Tomorrow we will have big apertures, so how can we possibly calculate and store all that data? Cloud computing,” said Tom.

Commitment to training the next generation of cloud talent and leadership: Through programs like AWS Educate, AWS CloudStart, and the AWS Institute, AWS offers trainings and support to customers around the world to keep the pipeline of innovation strong. We look forward to seeing what our customers create with the cloud.

Focusing on themes from artificial intelligence to security, government, education, and nonprofit customers shared their advice for moving workloads to the cloud and showcased how the cloud has enabled them to do what they never thought possible. Check out the videos and slides from the sessions and save the date (June 11-12, 2019, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC) for next year!