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SP Cog Coll 2014The world is in the early stages of a major shift—from the programmable computing era to the era of cognitive systems. Today at IBM Research, we’re convening our second-annual Cognitive Systems Colloquium. We’ll be hearing from some of the smartest people in the tech industry. Please return throughout the day for frequent updates. And join the discussion at #CognitiveComputing.


9:20    John Kelly, SrVP IBM Research: Augmenting Intelligence in the New Era of Computing.

It has been just one year since IBM Research staged its first Cognitive Systems Colloquium, yet a lot has happened. IBM launched its Watson Group to commercialize cognitive technologies. We put $1 billion behind it.

IBM Research executed its first major reorganization in nearly 20 years—allocating about one third of its professional staff to cognitive science and big data analytics.  That’s about 800 to 1000 people

We put our brains and our money where our mouth was.

Also Research committed to invest $3 billion to advance silicon and post-silicon chip development. And we took our cognitive technologies to the cloud, so these new capabilities can be put to use anywhere in the world—such as the countries of Africa.

We also expanded our partnerships with academics. Our ecosystem is really taking shape. We have dozens of universities and several hundred development partners. It’s happening globally.

IBM is determined to lead the way into a new era of computing—but what we’re trying to do here is to build a community, an ecosystem supporting innovation.

The past 12 months brought something else into sharp focus. For decades, computer scientists have sought to advance the science of artificial intelligence, which is defined by many people as the effort to develop computers to match the intelligence of the human brain.

At IBM we have a different point of view. We talk about augmenting intelligence rather than artificial intelligence. It’s a distinction that really matters.

Throughout history, humans have created tools to overcome our limitations and augment our capabilities. Cognitive systems are the next frontier in augmenting human intelligence. In a world of big data that is growing beyond our ability to manage optimally, cognitive systems will enable humans and machines to collaborate to accomplish things that neither people nor computers could do as well on their own.

Here’s Guru Banavar, VP for Cognitive Computing Research, explaining our position on A.I. He calls it Intelligence Augmentation, not Artificial Intelligence.
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Today, we’ll do a lot of talking about how to do this–how to augment our capabilities. We’re trying to address many more of the right-brain activities, versus just computation. This is not trivial. we need to move from English to multiple languages. We need to move from one line answers to full dialogue. We need to create systems that can understand images. We have great challenges ahead of us, but when we get there we’ll have systems with incredible capability.

To learn more about the new era of computing, read John’s book,  Smart Machines: IBM’s Watson and the Era of Cognitive Systems.

9:10  Zach Lemnios, vice president research strategy and worldwide operations: We’re here to bring together researchers, clients, students, young entrepreneurs. We want to highlight the work of the past year and look at the challenges before us, and help to build an ecosystem to drive innovations in cognitive computing. How do we scale up this enterprise—how do we create ways for people to use these systems in ways that are very easy to use.Video: Here’s Guru Banavar, VP for Cognitive Computing Research, explaining our position on A.I. He calls it Intelligence Augmentation, not Artificial Intelligence.

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Repsol Sovex Rig (Santos-Basin Bra

Repsol Sovex Rig (Santos Basin-Brazil).

By Steve Hamm

One of the great hopes for cognitive computing is that it will provide organizations with powerful new insights that enable them to penetrate complexity and rethink the way they do business—potentially transforming whole industries.

The oil and gas industry is ripe for transformation.

That’s because the uncertainties and geological risks are so great in resource exploration and the pressures are so great to maximize the productivity of existing oil and gas fields—whether they’re on dry land or thousands of feet under the sea.

Repsol S.A., a global energy company with its headquarters in Madrid, Spain, has teamed with IBM in a three-year collaboration to bring cognitive computing to bear on these so-called “upstream” aspects of its business, where energy companies face so much complexity and where decision making is so crucial to their success.

Continue Reading »

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October, 29th 2014

Alistair Rennie, GM IBM Business Analytics

Alistair Rennie, GM IBM Business Analytics

By Alistair Rennie

Each day, Twitter users press the button on about 500 million Tweets. That tsunami of 140-character messages spans the range of human interests and activities—from raves about recent purchases to exhortations to rally behind social causes.

Personally, I use Twitter as a sort of market-intelligence radar. I follow very smart people to see what they’re reading and thinking.

SP ibm twitter 1Now, for the first time, business leaders will be able to tap into the Twitter stream in powerful new ways to harvest insights that help them understand customer sentiment more deeply, develop hit products and services, and anticipate sudden shifts in moods and markets.

That’s because IBM and Twitter are combining forces to incorporate Twitter’s rich data streams into IBM’s cloud-based analytics, customer engagement platforms and consulting services.

Continue Reading »

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Steve Hamm in

SP Cog Coll 2014It has been one year since IBM Research kickstarted innovation in cognitive computing with an inaugural Cognitive Systems Colloquium. Since then, Research has staged colloquia at labs around the world and it has undergone the most significant reorganization in two decades–dedicating one third of its scientific staff to cognitive computing.

Tomorrow comes the second-annual colloquium at Research headquarters in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. A select group of scientists from industry and academia will gather to exchange ideas and view presentations from thought leaders in the field. The speakers include IBM Research Director John Kelly, serial entrepreneur Jeff Hawkins of Numenta, robotics pioneer Manuela Veloso of Carnegie Mellon, Internet trailblazer Bob Kahn, and computer interaction expert John Underkoffler of Oblong. Also presenting will be two early adopters of cognitive technologies, Santiago Quesada of the global energy company Repsol and Bob Darnell of the New York Genome Center.

So return here tomorrow to see what’s being said. Live blogging starts at about 9:15 and continues until 5.

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Uyi Stewart, Chief Scientist, IBM Research-Africa

Osamuyimen T. Stewart, Ph.D., Distinguished Engineer, Chief Scientist, IBM Research-Africa

By Osamuyimen T. Stewart, Ph.D.

The World Health Organization estimates that almost 10,000 cases of the Ebola virus disease have been reported since the latest outbreak was first reported in March 2014, resulting in more than 4,800 deaths. According to the WHO, widespread and intense transmission is occurring in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, while localized transmissions have occurred in other countries, such as the U.S.

Of the many daunting challenges facing local governments and aid organizations as they try to contain and manage the virus is the collection and analysis of information — current and insightful data about the situation on the ground, such as the needs of affected people, the supplies and services they require and the need for education to address socio-cultural obstacles.

If we can map all the data, we can figure out what needs to be done and who we need to partner with to get it done. Continue Reading »

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October, 27th 2014

BigDatavsEbolaBy Steve Hamm, IBM Writer

On Aug. 5, a group of open data mavens and government officials from Africa gathered in Washington, D.C., to launch an initiative called Africa Open Data. The goal was to help African countries tap open data as a means of addressing health, infrastructure and economic challenges. In a shocking turn of events, members of the Sierra Leone delegation simultaneously received text messages alerting them that their flight back home had been canceled due to the rapid spread of Ebola. Suddenly, they were citizens cut off from their country.

“They had looks on their faces of total panic, fear and trauma,” recounts Steven Adler, IBM’s open data evangelist and an organizer of the the event. On the spot, Steve and other participants started brainstorming ways they–and data–could help . They banged around ideas and began emailing and texting friends and associates they thought could lend a hand. Continue Reading »

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Stephanie Trunzo, Chief Creative Officer, PointSource

Stephanie Trunzo, Chief Creative Officer, PointSource

By Stephanie Trunzo

Mobile is predicted to account for more than 20% of online sales this upcoming holiday season and more than 80% of consumers are expected to perform mobile pre-shopping activities like browsing, finding locations, and adding items to their wish-lists.

The news follows the growing trend of mobile shopping. For example, more than half of all smartphone users use their devices to search for product and store information – and not only for the stores they’re in at the moment. The most common smartphone searches include comparing prices and looking for product information on different retailers’ websites.   Continue Reading »

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October, 23rd 2014

SP Garage 1 2014By Steve Robinson 

Today marks the official opening of our first ever Bluemix Garage, a place where developers, product managers and designers from the smallest startups to the largest companies can congregate, network and collaborate to build the cloud applications that will change how we live, work and interact with technology.

For the past few months, we’ve been working on pulling in our best resources, consultants and technologies to build out our Bluemix Garage, which is located in Galvanize, a launch pad for San Francisco’s thriving startup community. Continue Reading »

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October, 22nd 2014

Jia Chen, PhD, Director Health Solutions, IBM Smarter Cities

Jia Chen, PhD, Director Health Solutions, IBM Smarter Cities

By Jia Chen, PhD

In the most popular eldercare home located in the heart of downtown Beijing, there are more than 10,000 applicants waiting for one of its 1,100 beds. The waiting list is currently 100 years long as only a few beds open up each year.

By the end of 2013, there were more than 200 million people over the age of 60 in China, accounting for 20% of the elderly population worldwide, making it the country with the most senior citizens in the world.

China is also the country with the fastest growing aging population. It’s projected that the elderly population will grow by 10 million per year in China and reach over 400 million in the next 20 years. It took the United   States 79 years to double its elderly population from 7% to 14% of the total population. It will take China only 27 years to achieve the same growth. Continue Reading »

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Cynthia Burghard, a Research Director with IDC’s Health Insights

Cynthia Burghard, a Research Director with IDC’s Health Insights

The world of healthcare is revolving and evolving ever faster as new technologies and approaches to care take shape. Watching the transformation from the front row is Cynthia Burghard, a Research Director with IDC’s Health Insights. The Smarter Planet sat down with Burghard this week at the IBM Health and Social Programs Summit to learn more about holistic care as well as the rising role of such technologies as cloud, analytics and mobile.

Smarter Planet: Why are we finally beginning to take a holistic view of each individual in the context of their environment?
Cynthia Burghard: Many studies have identified a wide range of factors that are not clinical as determinants of health. It used to be thought that lifestyle and genetics were the key determinants of health but it has been shown that factors such as socio economics, behavioral, spiritual and environmental factors all contribute to health and disease.

Continue Reading »

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