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.
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.
By Wim Steelant and Lu Wang
A lot goes into getting students excited about science and technology. One key way to do this is to get students involved in hands-on projects and be a part of environments where technology is at the center, so that they can see it at work and use it to solve problems, other than updating one’s social network status from a smartphone.
At St. Thomas University in Miami we are focusing on bolstering our School of Science, Technology and Engineering Management capabilities. Our strategy rests on the promise to offer students innovative classroom curricula and collaborative research opportunities utilizing a cloud infrastructure aimed at getting them excited about the capabilities and potential of cloud computing within and outside university walls.
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.
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 »
By Robert LeBlanc
Near my home in Westchester County north of New York City, there’s a shopping mall that stands head-and-shoulders above all the rest. It has the best stores, is conveniently located in an urban area with easy access to the highway, and offers shoppers a mobile app so they can easily find their way around. The top retailers want to be there for all those reasons, and for the marketing and promotional opportunities provided by the mall. It’s a magnet for shoppers and retailers alike.
With the creation of the IBM Cloud Marketplace, we are going after that same premium experience – but with technology. The IBM Cloud marketplace, a new digital channel for IBM, is part of a shift in how we deliver capabilities. This cloud marketplace and others like it will increasingly be the places where the imperatives of business are addressed by technology and the expertise of innovation thought leaders. They are where business and technology will meet.
I wrote two months ago that we are in the process of reimagining IBM—how we operate and how we deliver value to clients and society.Over time, we will continue to deliver more capabilities, innovations, and expertise from the cloud. Think of it as “IBM as a Service.”
The IBM Cloud Marketplace, open for business today, will be one of the primary channels through which we deliver IBM as a Service. In addition, we will collaborate with partners from our global ecosystem to deliver hundreds of cloud services for the enterprise.
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.
By Laurence Guihard-Joly
Every company needs electricity, but that doesn’t require building a power plant. Many organizations have reached the same conclusion about computing and storage needs. Why build out data centers if it’s not your core business? Plus it can be a costly proposition.
That’s basically the premise of cloud computing – turn to trusted partners for your computing needs so you can focus on the business. But when deciding on a cloud strategy, organizations should be careful not to simply focus on saving money.
To be sure, moving to the cloud is economical and brings greater efficiencies, but it’s also an opportunity to reexamine everything from finance systems to enterprise resource planning and even the helpdesk. It can be a means of improving business efficiency over every operation that runs on software. Adding redundancy and automating backup are two functions most cloud providers offer, with more or less sophistication. A cloud strategy – public, hybrid, private – is also an excellent place to rethink security and continuity strategy and options across the board. Continue Reading »
By Sandy Carter
For centuries, playgrounds have provided children around the world with a place to explore, grow new skills and advance their mental, social and athletic abilities. Today, a new type of playground has emerged that is a bit different than your typical sandbox, monkey bars and tire swings.
This playground is the cloud and it has emerged as the ultimate developer playground, providing a platform for exploring new methods and quickly transforming an innovative idea into a reality. Continue Reading »
By Rick Singer
Ever since Augusta National Golf Club hosted its first Invitational event in 1934, a commitment to history and tradition has permeated the fabric of the Masters Tournament, which begins play this week.
While the Masters has delivered many thrilling, magical moments among the Georgia pines of the Augusta National golf course, many people may not be aware of the Tournament’s unwavering dedication to enriching the game of golf. From playing 18 holes on each of the Tournament’s four days — instead of 36 holes on the third and final day, which was the standard 80 years ago — to introducing the first cumulative over/under scoring method, the Masters has consistently established innovative practices that became and remain standards in the sport. Continue Reading »