By Jack Wells
Here at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) in East Tennessee, deploying the next top supercomputer for open science is akin to an ambitious hike in the Smoky Mountains: once one towering crest is reached, the next one appears within sight.
Just 18 months after the OLCF brought Titan—then the fastest supercomputer in the world—to full operation for users in May 2013, we announced a contract with IBM to create the next big machine: Summit.
Summit will expand on Titan’s groundbreaking hybrid architecture to deliver several times the computational power of the 27-petaflop Titan. Continue Reading »
By John E. Kelly III
It’s amazing for me to recall that in 1980 when I came to IBM Research out of graduate school, engineers were striving to design chips containing 100,000 transistors–those tiny electronic switches that process and store data. Today, it’s common to put five or six billion transistors on a sliver of silicon.
This remarkable achievement is the fulfillment of a prediction made in 1965 by industry pioneer Gordon Moore: that the number of components on a chip would double every year for the foreseeable future. He later amended the time period to 24 months. His predictions, codified as Moore’s Law, have come to symbolize the seemingly inevitable march of technological progress–the ability to make all sorts of electronic devices faster, smaller and more energy efficient.
While Gordon’s prediction proved to be more prescient than he could have imagined, today, 50 years later, the chip industry is no longer able to clear the high bar he set, due largely to limits imposed by the laws of physics. To put things bluntly: Moore’s Law is hitting a wall, and that collision holds significant consequences for business and society. Unless scientists and engineers come up with bold new approaches to chip architectures and materials, technological progress will slow.
To accelerate progress, we need to invent the next switch.
By Chris Nay
On average, IBM bestows its top technical rank of Fellow upon only five employees per year. That adds up to 257 who have earned the title over the program’s 52 year history. And those who hold it are recognized not only across IBM, but throughout the industry and around the world for leading innovation that will change the future.
Fellows program founder, Gardiner Tucker, recently recalled an example of the impact and scope of the program when discussing the work of Nathaniel Rochester, Fellow class of 1967. Continue Reading »
By Judy Murphy
One of the most stressful parts of a nurse’s job is the so-called “handover,” which occurs at the beginning of the shift–typically at 7 a.m. or 7 p.m.
In a matter of minutes, they have to find out which patients have been assigned to them, get reports from the nurses who handled those patients during the previous shift, and plan everything for their shift, from administering medications and scheduling procedures to giving baths and doing assessments –all the while being aware of activities that are already on the books for each patient. Talk about multitasking! Continue Reading »
By Kyu Rhee, MD, MPP
There was an interesting decision to make within IBM about what to call a new business organization that we’re announcing today. Should it be named Watson Health or Watson Healthcare?
“Health” is an aspiration, for individuals and society. “Healthcare” describes an industry primarily focused on treating diseases.
While healthcare is essential, it represents just one of many factors that determine whether people live long and healthy lives. Some other critical factors are genetics, geography, behaviors, social/environmental influences, education, and economics. Unless society takes all of these factors into account and puts the individual at the center of the healthcare system, we won’t be able to make large-scale progress in helping people feel better and live longer. So, Watson Health it is. Continue Reading »
By Steve Hamm
Last November in a championship powerboat race off Key West, Florida, Nigel Hook, skipper of Lucas Oil 77, was knifing along at more than 140 mph when he got a heads up from his support team that one of the main batteries was about to fail. That would have left the boat dead in the water. Instead, Nigel quickly switched to another battery and completed the race–finishing in 3rd place.
How did the support team know the battery was about to fail? Lucas Oil 77 is not only a monster of a motorboat; it’s also a node on the Internet of Things. Hundreds of sensors attached to the engines, navigation system and crew members monitor their health and beam the data wirelessly into the cloud, where it’s analyzed, and, when the system spots trouble, Nigel and the support team get alerts. Continue Reading »
By Joel Cawley
As climate change advances, the frequency and severity of weather and climate disasters is increasing. That’s bad news for all of us, and it’s particularly dire for the people who lose property or loved ones as a result.
But what if insurance companies had much more timely and detailed understanding of weather events as they happened? They could help people avoid the worst and recover more quickly when they’re hit hard.
Imagine this scenario: A string of tornados is heading toward a city. An insurance company, supplied with a stream of real time weather information, issues up-to-the-minute alerts to its customers with more details about the path of the tornados than they can get on TV. Immediately after the twisters whip through the area, the company sends out text messages to policyholders inquiring about their safety. It asks customers to send photos of damage through a smartphone app. Continue Reading »
Big Data, once thought to be the answer to unlocking insight, has itself become a challenge. From the vast amount of digital content online to new types of data streams from social, mobile and other sources, information overload pervades all aspects of our lives.
Identifying true insights trapped within that data is a difficult task. How do you sift through the 95 percent of information that doesn’t matter to find the five percent that does?
Enter IBM Watson and the era of cognitive computing. Watson has both an insatiable appetite for Big Data and the unique ability to contextually analyze that information to unlock meaningful insights. Continue Reading »
By Steve Hamm
Chief Storyteller, IBM
When Tom Rosamilia took command of IBM’s hardware division in early 2013, he faced a huge challenge. With the POWER systems, IBM made the world’s most capable server computers, yet sales were declining and there was no quick recovery in sight. One critical issue: the company’s high-end servers didn’t have a foothold in the fast-growing market for consumer- and public-cloud services.
A possible answer to Tom’s problem walked through his office door the first week he was on the job–in the person of Bradley McCredie, the chief technology officer for the hardware division. Brad urged him to make a radical change: Open IBM’s proprietary processor and system technology for use and modification by others.
The two men had discussed the idea previously–a number of times, in fact. But now Tom was in charge and Brad argued that the time had come to make a decision. “I said, ‘Let’s go for it,’” recalls Tom.
By Alistair Rennie
Leaders at a global food service company wanted to understand more precisely the types of people who visit their stores throughout a typical day. The goal: To spot hidden patterns that could help them market to specific customers more successfully.
With IBM’s help, they began incorporating Twitter streams into their analysis of loyalty-program data. The exercise quickly produced surprising insights. For instance, they learned that people with similar tastes in food and drinks tended to come in at specific times of day. One time-constrained type of customer, for instance, visits the stores nearly every morning, purchases food and beverages to go, and even buys their lunch during their morning visit. Continue Reading »