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July 10th, 2015
13:42
 

Yoshua Bengio, Professor of Computer Science, University of Montreal

Yoshua Bengio, Professor of Computer Science,
University of Montreal

By Yoshua Bengio

Humans have long dreamed of creating machines that think. More than 100 years before the first programmable computer was built, inventors wondered whether devices made of rods and gears might become intelligent. And when Alan Turing, one of the pioneers of computing in the 1940s, set a goal for computer science, he described a test, later dubbed the Turing Test, which measured a computer’s performance against the behavior of humans.

In the early days of my academic field, artificial intelligence, scientists tackled problems that were difficult for humans but relatively easy for computers–such as large-scale mathematical calculations. In more recent years, we’re taking on tasks that are easy for people to perform but hard to describe to a machine–tasks humans solve “without thinking,” such as recognizing spoken words or faces in a crowd. Continue Reading »

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Simone Ficarelli, head of external marketing at Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano

Simone Ficarelli, head of external marketing at Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano

Italians call Parmigiano Reggiano – or, simply, parmesan – the king of cheeses. Once a staple in the royal courts of Europe during the Renaissance, today it represents a $2.6 billion industry. To better satisfy growing global demand and improve quality, Parmigiano Reggiano producers have turned to data analytics. Using an IBM system, producers are tracking the production cycle and for the first time have a new real-time view of inventory. Simone Ficarelli of the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano, which represents the 350 Italian dairies authorized to make the cheese, says the goal is to track the entire supply chain from the cow to store shelves to protect the brand and stand out amid a confusing cast of knock-offs. The Smarter Planet recently caught up with Ficarelli for more. Continue Reading »

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Prof. Lee Jackson, University of Calgary; Scientific Director, Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets

Prof. Lee Jackson, University of Calgary; Scientific Director, Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets

By Lee Jackson

As water travels through and across a watershed, its quantity and quality changes dramatically based on human activities and the things – usually chemicals – that we add to it.

Understanding the increasing pressures on watersheds has been the work of the Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets (ACWA) and IBM Alberta Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS). The partnership, which just celebrated its 10 anniversary, brings together the latest data tools to tackle one of the biggest challenges in managing water – ensuring that people across the watershed have a fuller understanding of what is taking place. Continue Reading »

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Rick Relyea, left, director of the Jefferson Project at Lake George; and Harry Kolar, IBM Distinguished Engineer and associate director.

Rick Relyea, left, director of the Jefferson Project at Lake George; and Harry Kolar, IBM Distinguished Engineer and associate director.

By Harry Kolar

New York’s Lake George is a pristine, 32-mile-long lake in the Adirondack Mountains that is noted for its water quality and clarity. While the lake is very clean, it faces multiple anthropogenic threats, including road salt incursion and several invasive species.

The Jefferson Project at Lake George, a joint research collaboration involving Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, IBM Research, and the FUND for Lake George, is focused on protecting the lake and helping address the world’s looming freshwater supply challenges.

The project involves more than 60 scientists around the world (four IBM Research labs are involved), including biologists, computer scientists, physicists, engineers and chemists. Working as a virtual team, we’re pushing the boundaries in Internet-of-Things sensors, data analytics, and modeling of complex natural systems. Continue Reading »

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Robert Griffin, General Manager, IBM Safer Planet

Robert Griffin, General Manager, IBM Safer Planet

By Robert Griffin

We live in a dangerous world. You know the threats as well as I do. But we don’t have to live in fear. I’m convinced that technology can help police, corporate security officers, national security agencies and emergency management officials do their jobs better–making people, companies, cities and countries safer.

Situational intelligence is the key to making the world less dangerous. The more we know, the better prepared we are when the worst happens–and the more likely we are to be able to prevent it. To know more, we need to be able to sift through all the evidence to understand what’s happening now, and why, and what’s likely to happen next. Continue Reading »

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June 17th, 2015
6:38
 

Ron Ambrosio, CTO, Smarter Energy Research, IBM

Ron Ambrosio, CTO, Smarter Energy Research, IBM

By Ron Ambrosio

You walk into a room at night and flip the light switch on the wall. The lights come on. You didn’t think twice about that …you were certain it would work. While we’re not at that point everywhere in the world yet, it is true of most industrialized regions that electricity is a highly reliable resource. But the reality behind that simple action of turning on a light switch is a constantly evolving list of uncertainties that utilities deal with 24/7.

Uncertainty takes many forms in the utility industry, from the health of individual devices as they age, to volatility of fuel prices, to the behavior of you, the consumer, and your use of electricity or natural gas. And uncertainty can be equated to risk — the risk of failing to achieve both operational and business objectives. That’s not a risk any business wants to take. Continue Reading »

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Bob Picciano, Sr.VP, IBM Analytics

Bob Picciano, Sr. VP, IBM Analytics

By Bob Picciano

Over the weekend, a room full of top developers competed in a hackathon in San Francisco–vying for bragging rights to coding on top of the Spark data-processing engine. The winners will be announced later, but, based on the results of an internal IBM hackathon a few weeks ago, I can give you the bottom line: these competitions show that Spark could shake up data analytics just like the Linux operating system blew the lid off the Internet a decade ago.

Today, large-scale data processing is available mainly to corporations, government agencies and universities. Spark, an open source software project under the Apache Software Foundation umbrella, has the potential to place these capabilities at the fingertips of all types of people and organizations all over the world. The goal: deeper and faster insights. Continue Reading »

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June 12th, 2015
21:51
 

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Owlet Baby Care's smart sock baby monitor.

Owlet Baby Care’s smart sock baby monitor.

By Jordan Monroe

I can still remember the first time tears blurred the view of my computer screen after receiving an email from a customer.

I had been working at Owlet for over a year at this point, and I had heard many tragic stories of parents losing a child due to suffocation or health conditions. However, this time was different. It was the first email I received after my son James was born. I struggled to even finish this message from a fellow parent.

SP newwaytostartup1Something very primal happens to your brain when you have a child. It’s like your heart is pulled apart and put back together again. You feel so much deeper than you even realized you were capable of. Now when I read emails or do presentations, getting all choked up is a common occurrence.  Continue Reading »

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Waynes World

(Image: Wayne Watrach, Visual Media, IBM)

By Suman Mukherjee and Forsyth Alexander

As the world waits anxiously for the fourth installment of the popular Jurassic Park movie series to be released Friday, we thought it would be fun to look into the social buzz for the upcoming summer blockbuster.

As fans, we were curious about things like, where the most Twitter chatter was happening, how tweets were breaking down by gender, overall sentiment, peak times for chatter, and more.

So we uploaded some Twitter data about Jurassic World into Watson Analytics, IBM’s natural-language cloud-based analytics service, and within minutes began unearthing pretty interesting insights, such as: the country with the most tweets so far is Chile; on the whole, women are tweeting more than men; and Portugal has the highest number of positive tweets, but also the most negative. Continue Reading »

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Dr. Daniel Oehme, Postdoctoral Researcher, IBM Research - Australia

Dr. Daniel Oehme, Postdoctoral Researcher, IBM Research – Australia

By Dr. Daniel Oehme

Over the millennia our ability to utilise plants in many different ways has allowed us to flourish as a species. Most importantly, they turn our waste carbon dioxide into oxygen.

But we have also used plants to provide shelter, to publish and transmit information on paper and as a food source. In fact, developing new ways to utilise plants has even led to population explosions throughout time, such as when we first developed granaries to store grain thousands of years ago. In these modern times of climate change, global warming, ever-increasing populations and fossil fuels, plants have never been more important. Continue Reading »

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