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AFTC Airmen spark data solutions at hack-a-thon

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Tabatha Arellano
  • Air Force Test Center Public Affairs

The national security environment is affected by the rapid development of new technologies involving “big data” analytics, and the protection and proper utilization of our data is vital to advancing test capabilities at the Air Force Test Center. In order to merge data, tools, and relevant problems, an innovative team of Airmen across AFTC joined forces in the first AFTC Data “Hackathon” Nov. 1-5.

Various participants, also referred to as “hackers” from the 412th Test Wing in California, the 96th Test Wing in Florida, and Arnold Engineering Development Complex in Tennessee combined efforts to create an event that could potentially solve U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School sponsored data problems.

“The idea for a Data Hackathon started with taking a concept already created, and presenting a possibility to use data software to accelerate our abilities,” said Capt. Troy Soileau, 96th Cyber Test Group chief data officer.

Another purpose of the event was to build a technical community and train personnel in cloud, coding, and advanced analytics.

“The Data Hackathon projects looked at ways not to increase analysis capability for a single data set, but how to analyze across datasets, share data between various stakeholders, and how to automate certain activities for increased speed,” said Col. Keith Roessig, AFTC vice commander and Data Hackathon judge. “We’re hoping to scale the ideas generated during this first event and plan more events in the future.”

Though the hackers participated in different locations, they used a virtual system, VAULT, to collaborate their efforts.

“This event is being conducted in/facilitated by the VAULT cloud data science platform which is from the Air Force Chief Data Office, creating the opportunity to work virtually,” said Soileau. “We’re leveraging such talented individuals who have never worked together to encourage cross-organizational skillsets to help manage their talents even more.”

Roughly 40 participants, military, civilian, and contractors merged their different abilities to come up with definitive analysis tools that will provide decision-quality data, faster.

“Our focus this week is to get after definitive analysis tools that will save time and not need to reinvent the wheel for TPS students. We’re working on something that can be used for each class instead of being recreated every time,” said Soileau.

AFTC is expanding the use of digital engineering from the structural analyses or computational fluid dynamics predictions that Test has been doing for years, into a more collaborative approach between the test units, program offices, and contractors. This requires appropriate data collection, storage, transport, and sharing at the right security levels.

By the last day, integrating the diverse careers complemented the event’s objectives to find common goals.

“[The participants] all did a great job of recognizing each other’s strengths and using that knowledge to assign tasks. For example, the hypersonics test representatives provided insight into their knowledge of data formats and use of Python tools to the rest of the team,” said Brandon Stiles, AEDC Test Support Division chief engineer. “They were key in helping to examine test data formats from other test mission areas and demonstrating the ability to quickly convert data formats that could be used with Python automated analysis tools.”

During the last day, judges composed of AFTC senior leadership rated each teams’ solutions based off creativity, mission impact, completeness and overall score.

“It was truly amazing to see what ideas the teams came up with in a short time especially as they all incorporated aspects of data, tools and personnel required to make such endeavors successful,” said Roessig.

The Hackathon is slated to occur quarterly, with the next projected for the first quarter of 2022.

“Our next goal is to not only have more participants, but to work with squadrons and hopefully get a bigger mission impact,” said Soileau. “The vision is to make this more frequent for unit operations tempos with a solution at the end, and to demystify the technologies that underpin data engineering, data science, and advanced analytics and bring them home to the squadron-level.”

The representatives of Data Hackathon encourage more people from any career, regardless of skillset, to participate to widen the improvement of data analytics.

“We’d like to teach people that we don’t need permission to problem-solve, you have the best solutions having hands-on,” said Britney Reed, 412th Test Wing process manager.

For additional information about the Data Hackathon, please contact Capt. Troy Soileau at 661-524-4672.

Edwards provides care, opportunities for children aged six weeks through high school graduation

Edwards provides care, opportunities for childrenaged six weeks through high school graduation

The Child and Youth Program at Edwards AFB provides care and opportunities for kids ages six weeks old through high school graduation. A brief summary of those services follows:

  •                    The Child Development Center cares for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years, with a DOD-wide curriculum. The curriculum is focused on learning through play activities supporting social, emotional, physical and intellectual development. Installations across DOD follow the curriculum on the same timeline to allow seamless permanent change-of-station transitions for youth enrolled in care.
  •                    The School Age Center provides before and after-school care and summer camp for children ages 5 to 12. During school breaks, full-day camps are offered. SAC promotes cognitive, social, emotional, cultural, language and physical development through programs that encourage self-confidence, curiosity, self-discipline and resiliency.
  •                    The open recreation program at the Main Youth Center provides a safe space for ages 9 to 12 to attend after school. Programs include Power Hour, STEM, Torch Club, social recreation, youth camps, special events and more.
  •                    The youth sports program provides intro and league opportunities for ages 3 to 12, and promotes inclusiveness, self-discipline, commitment, resiliency and social skills. There are four sports offered annually for ages five to 12: baseball/softball, soccer, flag football and basketball. Smart start programs are available to ages 3 to 5. There are many other sports and camps offered throughout the year.
  •                    The Teen Center is available for ages 13 to 18 during the school year. Programs offered include Military Youth of the Year, Keystone Club, social recreation, STEM activities, college trips, leadership camps and more.
  •                    Youth programs (SAC, open rec and teen) are affiliated with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and 4-H.
  •                    Family Child Care homes – there are currently three FCC homes on the installation. They can provide care for ages two weeks to 12 years. FCC providers are trained by Child and Youth Program training and curriculum specialists and have the flexibility to determine their hours of operation and the ages of youth within their care. The program’s new dedicated manager, Jennifer Stegmann, may be reached at 661-275-7529.

Although CDC enrollment capacity is 317, not all slots are currently filled because of a shortage of childcare workers. School Age Center enrollment capacity is 156. After-school care enrollment is 130. Before-school care enrollment is 75. Summer Camp 2022 was at its capacity and enrollment for Summer Camp 2023 opens April 3.