Event Jan. 26: IIC to hold innovation forum Read more: http://www.businessrecord.com/Content/Tech-Innovation/Tech-Innovation/Article/Event-Jan-26-IIC-to-hold-innovation-forum

From http://www.BusinessRecord.com

The Iowa Innovation Corp. and Atlantic Media plan a forum on local innovation from 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 26 at Drake University’s Parents Hall. Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie and others will speak about how to support grass-roots entrepreneurs who are addressing social and economic challenges in the United States. Other speakers include Zach Mannheimer, vice president of creative placemaking, Iowa Business Growth Co., and Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress. The discussions will be moderated by Atlantic Media editorial director Ron Brownstein and Matt Vasilogambros, staff correspondent for National Journal. Read the full list of speakers, register online.

Read more: http://www.businessrecord.com/Content/Tech-Innovation/Tech-Innovation/Article/Event-Jan-26-IIC-to-hold-innovation-forum/172/834/71648#ixzz3y7gRxFgZ

New Iowa ag-tech startup accelerator under development

, mpatane@dmreg.com 11:49 a.m. CST January 22, 2016

Iowa would have another startup accelerator if the Greater Des Moines Partnership has its way. The Partnership, the largest business group in central Iowa, is working to develop an accelerator that would focus on agriculture-technology companies.

Startup accelerators typically put new ventures through three months of fast-paced business development. The accelerators provide seed money in exchange for a piece of each company. At the end, entrepreneurs usually show off their work during a “demo day” in front of peers and potential investors.

Read more at: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/tech/2016/01/22/new-iowa-ag-tech-startup-accelerator-under-development/79023702/


Iowa State engineers build cyber security testbed to help protect the power grid

Manimaran Govindarasu and Doug Jacobson witih the "PowerCyber" grid security testbed.

Manimaran Govindarasu and Doug Jacobson, left to right, are leading studies of power grid cyber security, including development of the “PowerCyber” testbed. Larger photo. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

– See more at: http://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2016/01/22/powercyber#sthash.allyfykh.dpuf

AMES, Iowa – It’s easy to think of the electrical grid as the power plants, the high voltage lines, the transmission towers, the substations and all the low-voltage distribution lines that bring power to our homes and businesses.

An attack on that grid would involve getting out and cutting lines or dropping towers.

But there’s another, less visible piece to the grid – all the computers and communication networks that make it work. Attackers can go after the cyber grid, too. They can do it from a desktop. At no real cost. Potentially from anywhere in the world. With few if any clues left behind.

“From an attack standpoint, that’s the cheapest form of attack with the lowest chance of being caught,” said Doug Jacobson, a University Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Iowa State University. “It’s asymmetrical warfare at its best. A single individual can cause enormous damage.

“It’s not fair.”

And it’s real. Just last month, hackers knocked out dozens of Ukraine’s power substations, blacking out more than a hundred cities and partially blacking out nearly 200 more.

To minimize the threat of that kind of attack, Jacobson and Manimaran Govindarasu, Iowa State’s Ross Martin Mehl and Marylyne Munas Mehl Computer Engineering Professor, are leading studies of grid cyber security while also training industry professionals and educating students to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure.

A major part of their project is developing a high-fidelity, open-access testbed to help secure the power grid. They call it “PowerCyber” and it’s designed to do vulnerability analysis, risk assessment, attack-defense evaluations and other tests.

The power grid is a complex cyber-physical system, Govindarasu said. There are the communication networks with Internet connections, algorithms and software. Then there are the power lines, towers, sensors, relays, actuators and other hardware.

PowerCyber integrates all of those elements – including actual relay equipment and other hardware – then adds sophisticated models of the grid system and virtual Internet technology. That Internet technology is based on ISEAGE (pronounced “ice age,” the Internet-Scale Event and Attack Generation Environment), a controlled, simulated Internet for cyber security studies. Jacobson developed the technology at Iowa State with support from the U.S. Department of Justice.

“We can use this testbed to run attacks and see the consequences on the power system,” Govindarasu said. “If it’s a blackout, how do we mitigate that? We can also prepare for these attacks and for our defenses.”

Industry, for example, could develop and test strategies for beating back repeated attacks.

“The biggest problem with malicious actors is their ability to keep hitting you,” Jacobson said. “Without preparing for that, you have a hard time getting back online.”

The PowerCyber testbed is being developed with support from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The U.S. Department of Energy is also supporting other Iowa State projects related to the cyber defense of the country’s power grid infrastructure.

So far, the testbed has been used in industry training and graduate courses. It has also been used as a resource for researchers in industry, at other universities and at national laboratories.

“This is one testbed that we can customize for specific needs,” Jacobson said. “It operates on a wide continuum. It’s not seven testbeds for seven needs.”

One unique need for the testbed is the country’s first Cyber-Physical System Cyber Defense Competition next month at Iowa State. Using Iowa State’s virtual Internet technologies, teams of students and professionals will work to protect power and water systems from simulated cyber attacks during an eight-hour competition.

The end goal of all that researching, developing, training and educating?

“A future electric power grid that is secure and resilient,” the Iowa State engineers wrote in a project summary. After all, “Cybersecurity and resiliency of the power grid is of paramount importance to national security and economic well-being.”

– See more at: http://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2016/01/22/powercyber#sthash.allyfykh.dpuf

Tech Town Hall and TechBrew in Urbandale Jan 14th

Urbandale to host tech conversation on January 14th

Join TAI and the City of Urbandale for a conversation with leaders and experts on current issues in technology and their impact on the community, business, and quality of life. RSVP today

When: January 14th, 2016
Where: Giovannetti Shelter, Walker Johnson Park, Urbandale, IA
Time: 4 – 5 pm – Tech Town Hall
5 – 7 pm – TechBrew

Panelists include:
Joe Riesberg – Vice President, Technology, DICE
Erin Rollenhagen – President, Entrepreneurial Technologies
Frank Vedder – Local Senior Vice President and CTO, IT Strategy Specialist
Dan Leibfried – Director, Solutions Infrastructure, John Deere ISG
Steve Bass – Superintendent, Urbandale Community School District

Moderated by: Perry Beeman, Senior Staff Writer, Business Record

Could computer science join the 3 R’s at Iowa schools?

, mpatane@dmreg.com9:18 p.m. CST December 26, 2015 From the Des Moines Register>

If Iowa education officials get their way, computer science could one day be required at all state high schools as part of an updated curriculum intended to prepare students for a growing career field.

The Iowa Department of Education plans to file a bill in the coming legislative session that would establish a task force to examine the issue. The group would make recommendations on requiring all high schools to offer a “high-quality computer science course” by the 2018-19 school year, Department Director Ryan Wise said.

The task force also would examine how to create a sequence of computer science curriculum for kindergarten through 12th grade, including a coding class in seventh and eighth grades, Wise said.


Read the full story at: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/tech/2015/12/21/could-computer-science-join-3-rs-iowa-schools/77444376/


Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Additional Support for Iowa Producers to Improve Nutrient Management and Water Quality Efforts


DES MOINES, Iowa, Jan. 5, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a host of new efforts to help Iowa’s farmers and livestock producers conserve water and soil resources and improve nutrient management practices on the state’s 30 million acres of farmland. Vilsack said the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will expand access to USDA’s signature conservation programs for Iowa producers, making available up to 85,000 additional acres for sensitive lands, and better target grants and loans for technical assistance and capital improvements, while working with state partners to more closely align priorities in an improved “watershed-based strategy” for nutrient management.

Read the full press release at: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2016/01/0002.xml&contentidonly=true






IowaBio Welcome Back Legislative Reception Jan 12




Join IowaBio on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at the annual Welcome Back Legislative Reception. This free event will take place in the lower-level Atrium of the State Historical Building in Des Moines from 5:00-7:00pm. The reception takes place at the start of the 2016 legislative session and is a great opportunity to make new connections and meet with elected officials. This event is co-hosted by IowaBio, the Iowa Communications Alliance, Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of America, the Iowa Association of Electronic Cooperatives and the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives. A free parking garage is available across the street on Grand Avenue.

To attend as a guest, please register at http://www.iowabio.org/welcomereception by Monday, January 11, 2016.

Biotech Innovation Showcase & Forum

Iowa Biotech Association

IowaBio invites you to attend its annual Partnering for Growth event, which now takes place over two days March 30 – 31 at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny, IA.  The first day will incorporate the new “Biotech Innovation Showcase” – an investor conference that will showcase early- to mid-stage biotech company presentations and provide a chance for innovators, inventors and investors to connect. The second day will host the annual Forum and include great keynote presentations, breakout panel discussions, an exhibit hall and one-on-one Partnering Meetings. Join IowaBio on either or both days as a guest or a sponsor. Registration is now open.

The Partnering for Growth’s Biotech Innovation Showcase is an investor conference that joins innovators, inventors and investors together to present and discuss the development of biofuels and biomaterials; advances in food, ag and plant genetics; progress in animal health; as well as human health and medical technology.

Applications from Early- and Mid-Stage companies accepted until January 8, 2016 $5,000 awarded to the best Early-Stage company. Learn more at http://www.iowabio.org/innovationFAQ

Register today: http://www.iowabio.org/index.cfm?NodeID=84325