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Cognitive Computing

John Kelly, SVP, IBM Research

John Kelly, SVP, IBM

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.

Gordon Moore and Intel co-founder Robert Noyce in 1970

Gordon Moore and Intel co-founder Robert Noyce in 1970

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.

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April 15th, 2015
12:05
 

The 2015 IBM Fellows: (L to R) Steve Fields, Jing Shyr, John Smith, Michael Factor, Berni Schiefer, Jim Sexton, Chitra Dorai, Mickey Iqbal, Donna Dillenberger, Bala Rajaraman

The 2015 IBM Fellows: (L to R) Steve Fields, Jing Shyr, John Smith, Michael Factor, Berni Schiefer, Jim Sexton, Chitra Dorai, Mickey Iqbal, Donna Dillenberger, Bala Rajaraman

By Chris Nay

On average, IBM bestows its top technical rank of Fellow upon only five employees per year. That adds up to 257 who have earned the title over the program’s 52 year history. And those who hold it are recognized not only across IBM, but throughout the industry and around the world for leading innovation that will change the future.

Fellows program founder, Gardiner Tucker, recently recalled an example of the impact and scope of the program when discussing the work of Nathaniel Rochester, Fellow class of 1967. Continue Reading »

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Kyu Rhee, Chief Health Officer, IBM

Kyu Rhee, Chief Health Officer, IBM

By Kyu Rhee, MD, MPP

There was an interesting decision to make within IBM about what to call a new business organization that we’re announcing today. Should it be named Watson Health or Watson Healthcare?

“Health” is an aspiration, for individuals and society. “Healthcare” describes an industry primarily focused on treating diseases.

While healthcare is essential, it represents just one of many factors that determine whether people live long and healthy lives. Some other critical factors are genetics, geography, behaviors, social/environmental influences, education, and economics.  Unless society takes all of these factors into account and puts the individual at the center of the healthcare system, we won’t be able to make large-scale progress in helping people feel better and live longer. So, Watson Health it is. Continue Reading »

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Steve Hamm, Chief Storyteller, IBM

Steve Hamm, Chief Storyteller, IBM

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 »

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March 31st, 2015
0:01
 

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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 »

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IBM_Watson_AvatarBig Data, once thought to be the answer to unlocking insight, has itself become a challenge.  From the vast amount of digital content online to new types of data streams from social, mobile and other sources, information overload pervades all aspects of our lives.

Identifying true insights trapped within that data is a difficult task. How do you sift through the 95 percent of information that doesn’t matter to find the five percent that does?

Enter IBM Watson and the era of cognitive computing.  Watson has both an insatiable appetite for Big Data and the unique ability to contextually analyze that information to unlock meaningful insights.  Continue Reading »

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sp shoppers

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By Alistair Rennie

Leaders at a global food service company wanted to understand more precisely the types of people who visit their stores throughout a typical day. The goal: To spot hidden patterns that could help them market to specific customers more successfully.

With IBM’s help, they began incorporating Twitter streams into their analysis of loyalty-program data. The exercise quickly produced surprising insights. For instance, they learned that people with similar tastes in food and drinks tended to come in at specific times of day. One time-constrained  type of customer, for instance, visits the stores nearly every morning, purchases food and beverages to go, and even buys their lunch during their morning visit. Continue Reading »

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March 16th, 2015
0:19
 

Florian, center, with ICE chefs Michael Laiskonis, left, and James Briscione, right

Florian, center, with ICE chefs Michael Laiskonis, left, and James Briscione, right

By Florian Pinel
Co-creator, Chef Watson

I love cookbooks. I must have 200 of them packed in a bookcase in my family’s apartment in East Harlem, N.Y. They’re from all over the world, in English, my native French, Russian, Hungarian and German. Soon there will be a new one: Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson: Recipes for Innovation from IBM & the Institute of Culinary Education.

This latest addition to my collection is a result of IBM’s successful collaboration with the Institute of Culinary Education to pair the recipe expertise of world-class chefs with the cognitive power of Watson to generate novel and tasty dishes.

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Donald Coolidge, CEO, Elemental Path

Donald Coolidge, Co-founder, Elemental Path

By Donald Coolidge

The day we launched the Kickstarter campaign for Elemental Path and our Cognitoys  was one of the most amazing days of my life. Within hours, we had reached $10,000 and, before the end of the day, we had topped our goal of raising $50,000. Today, with just three days to go in the month-long campaign, we have raised nearly $250,000. (Hey, it’s not too late to join in!)

It all seems magical. But the magic actually started a little over one year ago, when we first learned of the Watson Mobile Developer Challenge. Entering, and, ultimately, winning the Challenge led to us launch a new company and set out to develop a new generation of fun and educational toys based on cognitive technologies. We plan on introducing our first product in November–in time for the holiday shopping season. Continue Reading »

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Michael Garel, CEO eyeQ

Michael Garel, CEO, eyeQ

By Michael Garel

A few years ago, my wife and I frequently indulged in the guilty pleasure of browsing the shelves of our local Austin electronics store in search of the latest gizmos and gadgets.

Then, gradually, we shifted almost exclusively to online shopping. So did a lot of other people. Which is a huge problem for brick-and-mortar retailers.

On the flip side, that trend also created an opportunity for me to get into business. My company, eyeQ, which I launched with a partner in 2012, makes software that helps retailers understand customers so they can serve them better. Continue Reading »

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