Government // Leadership
06:38 PM
Wyatt Kash
Wyatt Kash
Connect Directly
Repost This

Top 10 Government IT Innovators Of 2013

From low-cost open-source tech tools to better citizen services, government IT staffs show how creative -- and cost conscious -- they can be.
2 of 10

Few federal agencies do a better job of capturing the public imagination than NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, which helped a worldwide audience share in the Curiosity Rover's "seven minutes of terror" before landing successfully on Mars. Behind the scenes was the clever use of cloud technology, social media and engineering to transmit real-time images from 150 million miles out in space, all on a tight budget.

JPL's IT team, anticipating Olympic-size audiences, migrated several applications to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud, including the legacy content management system, the Mars public outreach web sites and the Eyes on the Solar System website. But JPL IT had never implemented video streaming before and did not know how many people would watch the streaming video. At the eleventh hour, it became apparent viewership would be massive, so JPL and AWS put together a cloud-based system capable of handling 80,000 requests per second and that would ultimately stream 150 gigabytes per second and deliver 150 terabytes during the few days of the entry-descent-and-landing event.

At its peak, the websites reached 8 million hits per minute. The cloud enabled a global audience to experience the marvels of Mars at unprecedented speeds; in fact, at the same time JPL scientists did. Because of the cloud architecture, JPL had virtually unlimited computing and storage resources. And as importantly, JPL was able to serve 10 to 100 times more traffic at one-tenth the cost compared to the Mars Exploration Rover landing nine years earlier.


5 Habits Of Highly Effective Government IT Leaders

Fix The Fear Factor In Government Innovation

NASA's Next 5 Missions, Explored

IBM Appoints First Federal Chief Innovation Officer

Government Clouds: Interior Dept. Sets New Standard

Government IT Contract Wins: An Insider's Perspective

25 Most Influential Government CIOs

NASA Tests 3-D Printing In Space

Google Glass: Security Risk For Governments?

NASA Wants You To Stop Asteroids

2 of 10
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Author
9/13/2013 | 7:54:09 PM
re: Top 10 Government IT Innovators Of 2013
If budget constraints are forcing agencies to rethink their approaches, the good news is, the technology tools now available are making it possible to actually deliver innovation solutions, not just think about them.
User Rank: Apprentice
9/12/2013 | 7:15:37 PM
re: Top 10 Government IT Innovators Of 2013
I watched that Mars landing and was very impressed by the images. I didn't realize NASA used Amazon hosting for that.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Elite 100 - 2014
Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close at look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators.
Twitter Feed
Audio Interviews
Archived Audio Interviews
GE is a leader in combining connected devices and advanced analytics in pursuit of practical goals like less downtime, lower operating costs, and higher throughput. At GIO Power & Water, CIO Jim Fowler is part of the team exploring how to apply these techniques to some of the world's essential infrastructure, from power plants to water treatment systems. Join us, and bring your questions, as we talk about what's ahead.