AWS Public Sector Blog

Aedan MacDonald - Empowering formerly incarcerated citizens through code

Empowering formerly incarcerated citizens through coding skills training, mentorship, and job support

Did you know that the unemployment rate for the formerly incarcerated is five times higher than the general population? The implications of this stat are significant—affecting not only an individual’s livelihood—but also their family and future. Research shows that post-release unemployment is the most significant predictor of eventual recidivism. That’s why programs like Columbia University’s Justice Through Code are so important. Justice Through Code is a free, semester-long program, developed in partnership with the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School and the Center for Justice at Columbia University, providing formerly incarcerated individuals with technical and interpersonal skills training, mentorship, and job placement support.

Read More

New Jersey school district turns to a VMware Cloud on AWS hybrid cloud solution to deliver learning continuity

As schools and other educational institutions turn to remote learning solutions, organizations are reconsidering traditional IT infrastructure, aligning digital solutions to current learning and teaching models, and gearing towards the industry’s new measure of success: student engagement. A hybrid approach allows schools and districts to deploy both on-site and in the cloud, allowing staff and students to take advantage of productivity and collaboration services, to provide business and learning continuity. For more than a decade, To support critical learning applications and infrastructure during natural disasters and other disruptions, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District chose to use VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC on AWS) to extend its on-premises VMware vSphere environment.

Read More
stuffed piggy bank savings

Optimizing nonprofits’ costs in the cloud

Now more than ever, nonprofits have to optimize their costs and stretch their funds to maximize dollars invested in their mission. Often, nonprofits evaluate efficiency based on their operating expenses. For many, this means turning to the cloud to eliminate the upfront costs of buying servers and building data centers. With the cloud, nonprofits can better understand their bills, uncover foundational strategies for optimizing costs, set up budget alerts, and track costs and usage so they only spend on resources that they need.

Read More
SD 1020 approaches Point Bluff, New Zealand in stormy conditions after finishing the first Saildrone Antarctic Circumnavigation, sailing 22,000 kilometers around the Southern Ocean in 196 days.

Collecting data in remote oceans with a cost-efficient, scalable, and flexible infrastructure

Saildrone builds and operates a fleet of unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) designed to collect high-resolution oceanographic and atmospheric data in remote oceans. Known as saildrones, each vehicle can stay at sea for up to 12 months, transmitting real-time data via satellite. The data collected is used to inform climate models and extreme weather prediction, maritime domain awareness, maps and charts, and sustainable management of resources. Using clean, renewable wind and solar power, saildrones provide access to the world’s oceans at a fraction of the cost of traditional ship-based methods, while drastically reducing the carbon footprint of global ocean observation.

Read More
woman loads a robot for genetic studies

A new key to unlocking drug discovery

Be it aspirin for headache, or statin for cholesterol, or amoxicillin as an antibiotic, there are small molecules that we refer to as drugs that can offer therapeutic remedy. Given the range of possible molecule to protein combinations, finding the right small molecule that is able to bind strongly to a certain target site and inhibit its function is a time-intensive and challenging feat. Enter VirtualFlow, a new open-source software that performs screens, essentially matchmaking between molecules and proteins. Harvard Medical School researchers developed the VirtualFlow platform that tests compounds through computer simulations. Using AWS and an AWS Cloud Credit for Research grant, the researchers demonstrated that VirtualFlow is able to run on the cloud.

Read More
reInvent 2020 Teresa Carlson

What not to miss and how to make the most of re:Invent 2020 for the public sector

AWS re:Invent is back for 2020, and for the first time it’s all virtual and free. AWS re:Invent has become the world’s premier cloud learning event, and this year, we’ll feature sessions focused on how public sector organizations are using the cloud to improve the lives of constituents, patients, customers, and more. The event, kicking off on November 30 and lasting three weeks through December 18, will feature keynotes, leadership sessions, lightning talks, and core sessions tailored for the public sector. To help you make the most of re:Invent 2020, we created the AWS re:Invent Public Sector Virtual Attendee Guide, and the latest episode of The Brief.

Read More
person working on laptop elearning with sleeping dog

Tips and tricks to gamify your class

Do you favor that points-earning credit card? Or stick with the same airline to rack up miles? These are examples of gamification in action. While the term is relatively new, gamification has been around as long as people have tried to make boring activities interesting. Humans have a natural desire to compete, be social, and gain rewards. Elearningindustry.com found that 67 percent of students feel gamified courses are more motivating than traditional ones. And with educators shifting to virtual or blended classrooms worldwide, it’s worth making the effort to create a gamified classroom. Here are four tips to mastering gamification in your classroom.

Read More
University of York; Photo by Joel Barwick via Unsplash

Scaling to zero: Serverless is the way of the future, says University of York

Since universities typically face reliable bursts of traffic, such as on admissions day, they are not often concerned with the ability to scale infinitely—a key reason for going serverless. By doing so with AWS, the University of York now has the ability to scale down to zero, which helps the university better manage applications, reduce costs, and increase agility.

Read More
Photo by Hunter Harritt on Unsplash

Modern data engineering in higher ed: Doing DataOps atop a data lake on AWS

Modern data engineering covers several key components of building a modern data lake. Most databases and data warehouses, to an extent, do not lend themselves well to a DevOps model. DataOps grew out of frustrations trying to build a scalable, reusable data pipeline in an automated fashion. DataOps was founded on applying DevOps principles on top of data lakes to help build automated solutions in a more agile manner. With DataOps, users apply principles of data processing on the data lake to curate and collect the transformed data for downstream processing. One reason that DevOps was hard on databases was because testing was hard to automate on such systems. At California State University Chancellors Office (CSUCO), we took a different approach by residing most of our logic with a programming framework that allows us to build a testable platform. Learn how to apply DataOps in ten steps.

Read More

The COVID-19 infodemic: How Novetta uses machine learning to analyze unproven narratives on social media

The COVID-19 pandemic is driving a parallel “infodemic”: the rapid spread of competing and often harmful narratives about the virus. Social media plays a central role in this infodemic, serving as a forum for the spread and evolution of theories and beliefs with origins in broadcast, print, online news, blogs, and other digital arenas. As the COVID-19 infodemic grew, Novetta used AWS to create Rapid Narrative Analysis (RNA), a solution that achieves accuracy by using human expertise at critical stages of analysis while using machine learning (ML) models to rapidly diagnose the severity of the spread of key narratives at a speed needed to take effective action.

Read More