The U.S. government has taken an important step forward following the release of its open-source software policy in August, with the unveiling of Code.gov, a portal aimed at helping government agencies share code in order to save taxpayer money and make IT projects nimbler. U.S. CIO Tony Scott made the announcement in an official blog post: Under the Federal Source Code Policy, 20 percent of all newly developed custom code must be made open source for the next three years. The point is to cut down on waste by avoiding duplication of code that need only be written once, reducing government reliance on proprietary software products, and improving the quality of government-written or procured software code. National security-related agencies, it should be noted, are exempt from the policy. See also: White House launches Code.gov to share open source government code US must open-source custom code to boost reuse, cut wasted dev The US government buys into open-source programming The most technology-driven election in American history Agencies with code contributions on the site today include the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, Treasury, Department of Agriculture and the General Services Administration.
Code.gov, a U.S. government website for promoting the sharing of custom-developed software code, was launched Thursday with listings of nearly 50 open-source projects from various government agencies. The agencies are also required to make some of the software available to the public under an open-source license. "Built in the open, the newly-launched Code.gov Each agency's inventory will be reflected on Code.gov and will indicate whether the code is available for federal reuse, is available publicly as open source software, or cannot be made available under a specific exemption allowed in the policy. An Open Source Pilot Program under the new policy requires agencies, commissioning new custom software, to release at least 20 percent of new custom-developed federal source code to the public as open source for three years.
Could open source help cut the White House's multibillion-dollar software bill? The US government spends about $6bn per year on software licenses and maintenance, according to the Office of Management and Budget. Given the scale of that spending, it's understandable that the US, like other administrations around the world, is considering open-source software and open software standards as a way of saving money. But more than just seeing the move to open source as a cost-effective alternative, public officials worldwide view it as a means of speeding up innovation in the public sector. In October, the Dutch government set into law a proposal that all government bodies should use open document formats starting in 2017.
Deep learning is cutting edge artificial intelligence. It's what Google used to build AlphaGo, which beat the world champion of board game Go earlier this year in China. And it's being used by many of the world's top tech companies as the basis for recommender systems, fraud detection and cybersecurity. Government should be using deep learning, because it is a sophisticated tool that can help agencies fulfill their mission for use cases as diverse as risk profiling, cost forecasting and the analysis of satellite imagery. An additional benefit that supports both recent governmentwide policy and tight budgets is that most of the best deep-learning algorithms are open source.