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 »
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 »
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 »
By Jeffrey Coveyduc and Emily McManus
Imagine being able to ask a panel of TED speakers: Will having more money make me happy? Will new innovations give me a longer life? A new technology from IBM Watson is set to help people explore the ideas inside TED Talks videos by asking the questions that matter to them, in natural language.
Users will be able to search the entire TED Talks library by asking questions. Then they’ll be offered segments from a variety of videos where their concepts are discussed. Below each clip is a timeline that shows more concepts that Watson found within the talk, so that users can “tunnel sideways” to view material that’s contextually related, allowing a kind of serendipitous exploration.
Today, IBM and TED are showing a demo of the technology at World of Watson, an IBM symposium in Brooklyn, New York, aimed at expanding the role of cognitive computing in society.
By Dr. Lukas Wartman
I have the dubious distinction of being a famous cancer patient. I’m an oncologist who specializes in leukemia; I got leukemia; and I’m cured, at least for now, thanks to advances in genomic medicine and the efforts of some brilliant physicians and researchers.
My health was broken. It took some of the best minds and science in the world to put me back together again.
Unfortunately, in spite of advances in gene sequencing and oncology, too few cancer victims have outcomes like mine. The genomic treatment I received, an example of precision medicine, simply isn’t scalable to millions of people right now.
This is where IBM Watson could help. Using Watson’s cognitive computing capabilities, I hope it will be possible for oncologists like me to quickly mine insights from the immense amount of genomic data that’s becoming available about individual patients by using Watson to identify potential drugs that target our patients’ specific genetic profiles.
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 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 »