By Jon Iwata
In November 2008, with the world in the throes of a financial crisis, IBM offered companies and governments a bold invitation: “Let’s build a Smarter Planet.” We saw that the combination of instrumentation, interconnectivity and computer intelligence had created an unprecedented opportunity to make the world work better. We initiated a global conversation about the possibilities.
Today, most people see what we saw. We have engaged with thousands of clients to help them make their enterprises and industries smarter. And our belief in Smarter Planet has only grown stronger. It remains our point of view on the world and the future.
But the world doesn’t stand still, and neither have we. The technologies underpinning Smarter Planet—Big Data analytics (including IBM Watson), mobile, cloud, and new systems of engagement – are converging, and the transformation they are unleashing is accelerating. So IBM is moving beyond the “what” and “why” of Smarter Planet to the “how.”
We call this next phase “Made With IBM.” It is both a harvest of insights and an invitation to take this transformational journey with our company. We mean to show through hard evidence that IBM can be an essential partner in providing the technology and conceptual building blocks for the new world of work. We’re making a case for action.
By Steve Hamm
A few years ago, when IBM Fellow Stuart Parkin first met Claudia Felser, a formidable scientist who is now his fiance, he risked offending her by dismissing some of her ideas out of hand. “I told her the thing she was working on made no sense at all, but I’ve changed my mind,” he says. “I’m prone to make snap judgments. Sometimes I’m right; sometimes I’m wrong.”
In his own field, solid-state physics, he’s been right more often than not. In fact, he’s being recognized today with the Millennium Technology Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious science honors, by Technology Academy Finland. Previous recipients included Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, and Linus Torvalds, creator of the core elements of Linux, the popular open-source operating system. The Academy cited Stuart’s discoveries in disk drive technology, which have enabled a one-thousand fold increase in the storage capacity of disk drives over the past two decades. Continue Reading »
By Manny Schecter
The U.S. has endured numerous economic eras — farming, machines, manufacturing, transportation, and so on. Why has the U.S. economy survived and, more importantly, thrived throughout these periods? Were we just inherently gifted farmers? Were we all mechanically inclined? Are we experts at efficiency? If not, what then?
Our economy has proven flexible enough to successfully transition from one era to the next, but how? The answer lies not in details about the eras themselves, but in the innovation that enabled and sustained them. That is, the U.S. has been a leading innovator in each economic era. We are curious. We are creative. We are inventive. And this innovative spirit has been the common thread throughout.
Another reason why our nation has successfully navigated numerous economic eras is we have the most robust patent system in the world. The patent system is an engine for innovation. Specifically designed to promote innovation, the patent system provides the protection needed to ensure creative endeavors are not misappropriated by others who have not shouldered the same development expense. To allow otherwise would advantage copycats over inventors. Continue Reading »
By Steve Hamm
Aleksandra “Saska” Mojsilovic grew up in the former Yugoslavia before it splintered into nine nations, and, by the time she graduated with a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Belgrade in 1997, “The world I knew didn’t exist anymore,” she says. Today, as a scientist at the IBM Research lab in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., she’s making it possible for people to understand how the world works much more deeply than every before–so they can transcend traditional boundaries and make better decisions in their private and professional lives. Continue Reading »
By Jim Spohrer
Moore’s Law describes the phenomenon that drives rapid progress in the electronics industry. Taking advantage of the laws of physics, engineers have been able to pack transistors ever more densely onto semiconductor chips, doubling their capacity every 18-24 months. The effect of this so-called “scaling” phenomenon is the ability to do more with less space, continuously increasing the capabilities and lowering the cost of computing. Rapid progress is built into the system.
Society’s efforts to scale higher education have not been so successful. Sure, the world’s developed economies handle an immense quantity of university students. In the United States alone, nearly 5,000 institutions of higher education serve more than 20 million students. Yet the way we have scaled up to produce the number of knowledge workers required by modern society is ineffective and unsustainable. In the US, the cost of higher education has increased by 1,120% over the past 35 years, four times the increase in the consumer price index. And stasis, rather than progress, is built into the system. Continue Reading »
By Steve Hamm, IBM Writer
Tanishq Abraham is just 10 years old but he has already accomplished a lot in life. He learned to read when he was just months old, became a Mensa member at age 4 and is now enrolled in college. What does he want to be when he grows up? “A medical researcher,” he says, and, as an afterthought: “The president of the United States.”On Monday evening, Tanishq charmed an audience at New York’s 92nd Street Y, when he appeared with IBM Research scientist Dario Gil in the last installment of the organization’s “Seven Days of Genius” program. The program, using the tag #thatsgenius on Twitter, explored the nature of genius and the potential for especially bright people to have an outsize impact on the world.
Monday’s event introduced the audience to two people who are passionately interested in science.
Tanishq became fascinated with paleontology when he was 4 years old, then turned to astronomy, then biotechnology. His current passion is nano medicine. While he’s taking two courses at American River College, near his home in Sacramento, Calif., he also studies online via Coursera. He likes online courses the best because, “I can move at my own pace,” he said.
By Florian Pinel
My time at South by Southwest (SXSW) could be called, “Five Days in a Food Truck,” or, “What it’s Like to Cook with a Computer.”
For the better part of a week, chefs James Briscione and Michael Laiskonis and I prepared everything from Caribbean snapper fish and chips, to chocolate burritos with an Austrian twist for the throngs of techies who hustled between presentations by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Edward Snowden, and more. Continue Reading »
By Sima Nadler
Whether it’s finding those gluten-free crackers, getting the best price for sunblock, or just navigating inside the store, new technology is changing the way we shop. We can already compare prices and products using our smartphones, and soon we’ll have a cognitive, digital shopping assistant ready to answer all our questions.
This week IBM announced an augmented reality technology with Tesco, one of the world’s leading retailers, that will enable the company to do things like manage more effectively how products are displayed on shelves – ensure they are arranged according to plans that specify the best position, amount, and arrangement. This same core technology can also be used to help shoppers compare products or find what they’re looking for. Continue Reading »
By Florian Pinel
Raise your hand if you have interests outside of your day job. Probably most everyone, I imagine. Now, how often do they serendipitously collide? Probably not that often, right? But that’s what happened for me two years ago when I applied my computer science skills to my love of the culinary arts as part of IBM’s Cognitive Cooking project.
If you’re attending South by Southwest in Austin from March 7-11, come meet me at the IBM Food Truck. I’ll be showing how this recipe-generating technology works, while chefs will be preparing the dishes you can vote for on Twitter.
The idea started when my team was brainstorming on “Watson-like projects” – nothing so specific as “cooking,” yet. We wanted to know: could the cognitive computing that Watson uses in healthcare and other industries, also be creative?
That angle then spun into “could a machine come up with a recipe we could make into a dish that we would actually want to eat?” You can read about its early iterations, and its potential societal impacts, in the 2012 IBM 5 in 5: Taste prediction. Continue Reading »
Chef Michael Laiskonis has worked in some of the world’s best restaurants, including New York’s Le Bernardin, a Michelin Guide three-star restaurant, as executive pastry chef. Now the creative director at the Institute of Culinary Education, Laiskonis is helping IBM “teach” a computer system to develop novel recipes. The “cognitive cooking” collaboration was on display at IBM’s Pulse Conference, where ICE chefs prepared everything from an Austrian chocolate burrito, to a Baltic apple pie in the IBM Food Truck. Next, the truck and tech will stop in Austin for the South by Southwest Interactive Conference. Before Chef Laiskonis set out for the Lone Star state’s capital, he spoke with the Smarter Planet blog about what it’s like to work with a computer that knows ingredients down to the molecular level, and how such a system would be accepted in the kitchen.
Smarter Planet: How did you become interested in cooking, and inspired to be a chef?
Michael Laiskonis: I fell into cooking quite by accident while I was pursuing a degree in fine arts. What began as something I “could” do simply in order to pay the bills quickly became something I felt “compelled” to do. The underlying science of cooking, the process of transformation, the hard work of making something with one’s own hands and the instant gratification of making people happy – all of those things still drive me today. Continue Reading »