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FangBy Steve Hamm
IBM Writer

Fang, a cute plush toy who is much smarter than your average (stuffed) bear, is not something that IBM Watson Group had on its drawing boards. But the creative geniuses at a New York City startup, Majestyk Apps, dreamed up this novel way of using the power of Watson to delight and teach children.

Majestyk was one of three winners of the IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge, who were announced today. The others were GenieMD, of Pleasanton, Calif., a maker of mobile personal healthcare apps; and Red Ant, of London, England, a a provider of mobile technology for the retailing industry. Continue Reading »

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IBM_Watson_AvatarThe era of cognitive computing is upon us. Scientists and engineers are designing new systems that ingest vast amounts of information, learn from their interactions with people and data, reason, and help us make better decisions. The opportunities are vast, but so are the challenges. That’s why fulfilling the promise of cognitive computing will require contributions from a large number of people in industry, academia, government and civic life.

So please join the New York Academy of Sciences, ETH Zurich and IBM as they present a discussion between Lino Guzzella, president-elect of ETH, the MIT of Europe; and John Kelly, senior vice president and director of IBM Research, the largest corporate research organization in the world. They will speak about research and collaboration to advance cognitive computing. View the discussion on this Livestream site at 7 p.m. And join the Twitter conversation at #CognitiveComputing, #ETH and #ZHNY.

 

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Michael Rhodin, Sr VP, IBM Watson Group

Michael Rhodin, Sr VP, IBM Watson Group

By Mike Rhodin

The second in a series on the IBM Watson Platform, this blog explores the future of how computers relate to us.

For decades, moviemakers and TV producers have featured talking computers as futuristic props—whether it was Captain Kirk barking commands on the Starship Enterprise, Michael Knight talking to his car, K.I.T.T., on Knight Rider, or Theodore cooing to his smartphone operating system, Samantha, in the recent movie Her.

Yet, even though the way we interact with computers has come a long way since the days of punch cards, in large part we are still forced to deal with them mainly on their terms—and hampered by their limitations.

Not much longer.

An essential part of the third era of computing—cognitive computing—will be our ability to interact with smart machines in ways that are more natural to us.  Making them conversational is an important part of that effort.

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Chase Stockton, Chairman, Tampa Bay Technology Forum

Chase Stockton, Chairman, Tampa Bay Technology Forum

By Chase C. Stockon

When the Tampa Bay Technology Forum (TBTF) was formed over 10 years ago by a small group of entrepreneurs and supporters, technology in the Tampa Bay area looked very different than it does today.

Those same entrepreneurs have grown their companies into market leading companies, while other major national brands have relocated to the area attracted by our business climate with no state income tax and, of course, our warm-weather climate.

With the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit coming to Tampa this week, this is yet another tangible sign that demonstrates the growing importance of this region to the global tech community at large. Continue Reading »

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Ingrid Haftel, Associate Curator, Chicago Architecture Foundation

Ingrid Haftel, Associate Curator, Chicago Architecture Foundation

By Ingrid Haftel

Big data is all the rage these days – from helping doctors diagnose patients by using analytics to sift through decades of historical information to allowing marketers learn how to better personalize experiences for customers. But there often isn’t the chance for citizens to see how data might affect their everyday lives up close and personal.

Here at the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF), we wanted to show citizens how data provides a critical lens for exploring and understanding the design issues that matter, like community health, safety and sustainability. To do this, we devised the upcoming exhibition Chicago: City of Big Data. Opening today, the exhibition explores the digital age of urban design and shows Chicago the effects of Big Data on the city’s lifeblood.

The exhibition strives to demonstrate the potential that urban data has to improve Chicago and, by extension, cities worldwide. We show citizens where urban data comes from by examining the city’s digital infrastructure and how it is used by architects, planners and citizens as part of their design process. As urban data increasingly influences modern architecture and urban planning, data becomes one of the most valuable materials of 21st century design.

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Dave Chesney, Faculty, University of Michigan

Dave Chesney, Faculty, University of Michigan

By Dave Chesney

The seniors in my Software Engineering class this year learned a lot about computer programming, but they also achieved something that wasn’t in the syllabus. They made a difference in one young person’s life. They designed apps aimed at enabling a 13-year-old Michigan girl with cerebral palsy to achieve her dream of playing games with her classmates.

For several years, I have collaborated with doctors at the University of Michigan Health Systems to identify disabilities that show the potential of being addressable in some way by assistive technologies. Then, in each course, my students take on the real-world challenge of helping children with those disabilities live better. It’s inspiring for the students and, potentially, good for society.

In preparation for the fall semester, 2014, we’re doing things a bit differently. We’re going to be using IBM’s Watson as our primary tool for building applications. So, instead of identifying a disability and then finding technologies that can help overcome it, we’re starting with the technology and finding ways to use it.

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Mike King, Vice President, Global Education Industry, IBM

Mike King, Vice President, Global Education Industry, IBM

By Michael King, VP Global Education Industry at IBM

It is a well-known fact that the quality of the student experience is critical to the success of an institution of higher education, so colleges and universities need to focus on student engagement to meet the changing needs of incoming and existing students.

The pressures have never been more intense. With schools, public and private, facing increasing competition from each other and from online schools, and with budgets tightening, every institution must work smarter to remain competitive.

Transforming the student experience requires a focus on preparing graduates to meet the challenges of today’s demanding workplace. To achieve this goal, an institution needs to achieve a holistic view of every student, so it can assess individual student needs and create a more personal learning experience that will help them prepare for professional life.

In an effort to transform its student experience, UK’s London South Bank University (LSBU) has chosen IBM and its Exceptional Student Experience (ESE) package of cloud services, a mix of analytics, mobile, social and security solutions.

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Michael Rhodin, Senior Vice President, IBM Watson Group

Michael Rhodin, Senior Vice President, IBM Watson Group

By Michael Rhodin

When IBM’s Watson arrived on the scene three years ago, it did one thing really well: Answer written questions very quickly on a wide range of topics. It amazed all of us with its understanding of language and its ability to sort through vast amounts of data in seconds. But that was just the beginning.

Today, IBM Watson is on a path to augment and scale human expertise on a variety of dimensions. As a software geek, I’m really excited about this. We’re architecting a technology development system, called the Watson Platform, which will be like a library for cognitive technologies. Scientists within IBM Research and engineers in the Watson Group are building discrete cognitive components that can be pulled off the virtual shelf by developers at IBM, by entrepreneurs and by corporate developers–and used in any number of applications. Continue Reading »

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Sumit Gupta, GM, Tesla Accelerated Computing, NVIDIA

Sumit Gupta, GM, Tesla Accelerated Computing, NVIDIA

By Sumit Gupta

Last week, while on a road trip to southern California with my family, I had one of those moments that parents treasure. I impressed my kids with what I do for a living.

They wanted to know what song was playing on the radio, so I ran the song through the Shazam music app on my phone. I proudly told my kids that Shazam uses a type of high-performance computer processor from my group at NVIDIA to rapidly search and identify songs from its 27-million track database. That lightning-quick computing task took place in a far-off data center in the cloud, but, for the kids, it seemed like magic happening in the palm of my hand. “Cool, dad!”

The moment was especially thrilling for me because I foresee an explosion of innovation taking place in cloud data centers. One of the forces fueling this phenomenon is an initiative called the OpenPOWER Foundation.

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SP dverma

Dr. Dinesh Verma, IBM Fellow

To say mobile data traffic is getting congested would be the understatement of at least the last year. That’s because in that span of time, traffic from mobile devices has grown 81 percent. To help manage this data tsunami and keep information flowing, Dr. Dinesh Verma, IBM Fellow, worked on technologies applying IT principles to wireless networks. He and his wife, Paridhi Verma, Government and Education Marketing Manager at IBM, put their findings in a new book, Techniques for Surviving Mobile Data Explosion, that details the challenge and solution. The Smarter Planet blog caught up with Verma recently for more insight.

Smarter Planet: How much mobile data are we talking about?
Dinesh Verna: A huge amount of mobile data! As a sample point, global mobile data traffic grew 81 percent in 2013, and by the end of 2013 had reached 1.5 exabytes per month. That’s up from 820 petabytes per month at the end of 2012.

To provide some perspective, the total amount of data transferred in one full year on the Internet was about 1 exabyte just a decade ago, in 2004.

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