By Florian Pinel
Raise your hand if you have interests outside of your day job. Probably most everyone, I imagine. Now, how often do they serendipitously collide? Probably not that often, right? But that’s what happened for me two years ago when I applied my computer science skills to my love of the culinary arts as part of IBM’s Cognitive Cooking project.
If you’re attending South by Southwest in Austin from March 7-11, come meet me at the IBM Food Truck. I’ll be showing how this recipe-generating technology works, while chefs will be preparing the dishes you can vote for on Twitter.
The idea started when my team was brainstorming on “Watson-like projects” – nothing so specific as “cooking,” yet. We wanted to know: could the cognitive computing that Watson uses in healthcare and other industries, also be creative?
That angle then spun into “could a machine come up with a recipe we could make into a dish that we would actually want to eat?” You can read about its early iterations, and its potential societal impacts, in the 2012 IBM 5 in 5: Taste prediction. Continue Reading »
Chef Michael Laiskonis has worked in some of the world’s best restaurants, including New York’s Le Bernardin, a Michelin Guide three-star restaurant, as executive pastry chef. Now the creative director at the Institute of Culinary Education, Laiskonis is helping IBM “teach” a computer system to develop novel recipes. The “cognitive cooking” collaboration was on display at IBM’s Pulse Conference, where ICE chefs prepared everything from an Austrian chocolate burrito, to a Baltic apple pie in the IBM Food Truck. Next, the truck and tech will stop in Austin for the South by Southwest Interactive Conference. Before Chef Laiskonis set out for the Lone Star state’s capital, he spoke with the Smarter Planet blog about what it’s like to work with a computer that knows ingredients down to the molecular level, and how such a system would be accepted in the kitchen.
Smarter Planet: How did you become interested in cooking, and inspired to be a chef?
Michael Laiskonis: I fell into cooking quite by accident while I was pursuing a degree in fine arts. What began as something I “could” do simply in order to pay the bills quickly became something I felt “compelled” to do. The underlying science of cooking, the process of transformation, the hard work of making something with one’s own hands and the instant gratification of making people happy – all of those things still drive me today. Continue Reading »
By Evan Nisonson
A staggering one-in-three high school graduates who took the ACT tests in 2013 are not ready for college, the testing organization has said in a recent report. Of the 1.8 million high school graduates who took the test last year, only 26 percent achieved college readiness benchmarks in all four subjects of English, reading, math and science. Another 27 percent met two or three benchmarks, and 16 percent met just one.
This is a significant challenge to the expectations of policy makers, educators, parents and students themselves who look to our educational systems to better prepare the youth of today into the skilled workforce of the future. To be clear, the number of unprepared, or even under-prepared, college freshman can impact states even today through a rise in unemployment and a decrease in the number of much-needed skilled workers. We must do better.
One part of a solution is to arm our teachers with better tools, such as digital content, that would lead to a more personalized and more impactful curricula for students. The other is harnessing the multitude of data generated in education to establish linkages between K-12, postsecondary, and workforce partners.
The latter part of the solution is what the Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) has chosen to deploy to better prepare their students for college and careers. The aim of the project is to facilitate collaboration between educators, parents, and students to develop academic, financial, and future career plans that align with student aspirations. Continue Reading »
By Pat Toole
Jovanna Marquez was a Florida high school student who was contemplating a career in criminal justice when a teacher convinced her to take a computer science class and then introduced her to IBM’s Master the Mainframe Contest.
It changed her life. Ms. Marquez is now studying computer science at the University of Central Florida and credits Master the Mainframe with helping her develop technical chops and find her true career path. Call it “Millennials Meet the Mainframe.” Or, “zEnterprise for Generation Z.” It’s a story about how a new generation of students are finding great career opportunities working with the IBM mainframe, which continues to advance as one of the world’s most dynamic and vital computing platforms. Continue Reading »
By Claudia Fan Munce
IBM has long had a keen interest in tech startups. For nearly two decades, behind the scenes, we forged relationships with venture capitalists to learn about their portfolio companies with an eye to acquiring some of the best of them when the time was right. That strategy served us well. Over the past decade, we have acquired more than 120 companies for a total of more than $34 billion dollars in critically strategic areas such as cloud computing, digital marketing and data analytics.
But oh how our world is changing.
Today, IBM is emerging as a major player in the startup economy. We continue to pursue our acquisition strategy, but now we’re doing much more. We have begun to invest directly in startups, we offer cloud services for thousands of born-on-the-Web companies, and we’re working with startups to help them build services powered by Watson, the cognitive computing system that shook up the world by beating two former grand-champions on the TV quiz show Jeopardy!. Continue Reading »
By Steve Hamm
All Samar Birwadker and Subbu Balakrishnan had was the germ of an idea for a product when they attended a startup workshop in San Francisco in April of 2012. But they met Joshua Krammes there, and he helped them think through the intricacies of turning their idea into a company—Good.Co Inc., which is now in the later stages of creating a cloud service for matching the personalities of job candidates with the cultures of companies they’re interested in working for.
Krammes advised them to learn the ropes of entrepreneurship in the TechStars program, and, later, after they launched the company, he helped out with a host of business issues. But Krammes isn’t a startup consultant or venture capitalist, like you’d expect. He’s an evangelist at IBM SoftLayer who runs the Catalyst program for startups. Continue Reading »
What happens when you ask an entire continent to illustrate its challenges and opportunities in photos?
That’s exactly what IBM’s newest research lab wanted to find out. IBM Research – Africa, which opened its doors last November, was created with an ambitious mission: to conduct applied and far-reaching exploratory research into the grand challenges of the African continent by delivering commercially-viable innovations that impact people’s lives. Though it opened with clear objectives and an understanding of many of the infrastructural concerns across the continent, the Lab wanted a more personal understanding of the challenges.
“We quickly realized that if we were to make a difference in Africa, we needed to operate outside of the walls of the lab,” said Dr. Kamal Bhattacharya, Director, IBM Research – Africa. “While we benefit from 25 PHDs from some of the world’s best universities, it is crucial that we enter a dialogue with the people who best understand their own realities.” Continue Reading »
I was born and have lived in the Mukuru slums in Nairobi, Kenya, for most of my life. I have witnessed first-hand the challenges to mental, emotional well – being and all kinds of challenges – some of which I can’t categorize.
I was strong enough to go through all that, but I had my weaknesses which overcame me at points. Still, I remained focused with whom I wanted to be. Though I was very good in school, I didn’t take further steps with education due to my home situation and the insecure environment.
But I remained strong in my education path and still believe in education and I have been educating myself till now.
Despite all this I was able to hold on to whom I wanted to see in me – and this was an artist. Art was a tool which I knew since I was young and believed I could use as a medium to say something. In 2009 I got interested in photography and was involved in a photography workshop. Continue Reading »
By Rob High
My hometown of Austin, Texas, is food truck heaven. The city boasts more than 1000 trucks serving up an incredible variety of fare—everything from potato-chip-flavored ice cream sandwiches to Japanese deep fried octopus meatballs. When hordes of technorati and live music fans gather here for the annual South By Southwest (SXSW) festival next week, they’ll have plenty of culinary treats to choose from. But we have something really different to bring to the table — IBM’s Watson food truck.
You’ve probably watched Watson compete on TV, but now for the first time you can see, taste and smell the results of its creativity.
The bright orange truck will serve up exotic delicacies including Indian Tumeric Paella, Italian Grilled Lobster and Ecuadorian Strawberry Dessert. Unlike the menus of the other trucks, these dishes were created through a collaboration between Watson, a cognitive computer, and award-winning chefs at New York’s Institute of Culinary Education (ICE). Continue Reading »
By Martin Cooper
After decades of existence, the mobile phone is finally beginning to hint at its potential to address some of society’s most important challenges.
As the mobile industry grows out of its vapid obsession with pixels, apps, and bling, recognition of one of the mobile phone’s higher callings is getting attention. This emerging focus on the phone as a device for transferring personalized health information to and from an individual sets society up for revolutionary improvements in healthcare.
Just imagine a society in which diseases, and the pain and suffering they cause, simply do not exist—in which people are healthy until end-of-life. Such a society is within the realm of scientific possibilities, but only if we change our approaches to healthcare. Smarter use of data, enabled by mobile phones, can help as we switch from curing diseases that have already struck to anticipating and preventing the diseases before they strike. Continue Reading »