By Jonathan Schaeffer
At the just-concluded G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, the leaders of the 20 major economies in the world agreed to “take strong and effective action” on climate change.
Still, at this critical juncture in the history of our planet, it is essential that the scientific world continue to document the dramatic climate changes occurring all across the globe.
One technological area gaining wider use is remote sensing. Today sensors are powerful and inexpensive, network access to remote data is increasing, scientific models are improving, and “big data” algorithms for crunching the numbers are more accessible. Continue Reading »
By Charity Wayua, Ph.D.
I come from a family of educators. So when it came to choosing a career, it was natural for me to go into education. My vocation, though, is research. I study educational systems so that I can help re-imagine what they can be.
Few places can benefit as much from this kind of research than Africa, where I grew up and now work as a scientist at IBM’s new Research lab in Nairobi, Kenya. Africa is a paradox. It has seen tremendous growth during the past decade.
And yet half of the children in Africa will reach adolescence unable to read, write or do basic math. Two-thirds of those who don’t receive schooling are girls, because many of them have to stay home and take care of their younger brothers or sisters. Continue Reading »
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 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 Chris Sciacca
Ballet or mathematics? Most ordinary eight year olds girls would probably choose ballet, but Maria Dubovitskaya was anything but an ordinary eight year old.
One day, after ballet lessons in the Moscow suburb of Domodedovo, Maria’s parents were running a little late. She heard other children, mostly boys her age, clacking away on IBM 286 PC keyboards in the classroom next door. Peeking through a crack in the door Maria was overcome with curiosity.
“I remember they were drawing different figures on the screens and magically changing their shapes and colors simply by typing on the keyboard. I just had to try this out for myself.”
When her parents finally arrived, she immediately asked them to sign her up for a computer class.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but thinking back now, my parents were very supportive. In fact, a few days later my dad bought me a programming book for kids called The Encyclopedia of Professor Fortran, and also brought home a very simple computer. I was hooked,” said Maria. 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 Evan Nisonson
A staggering one-in-three high school graduates who took the ACT tests in 2013 are not ready for college, the testing organization has said in a recent report. Of the 1.8 million high school graduates who took the test last year, only 26 percent achieved college readiness benchmarks in all four subjects of English, reading, math and science. Another 27 percent met two or three benchmarks, and 16 percent met just one.
This is a significant challenge to the expectations of policy makers, educators, parents and students themselves who look to our educational systems to better prepare the youth of today into the skilled workforce of the future. To be clear, the number of unprepared, or even under-prepared, college freshman can impact states even today through a rise in unemployment and a decrease in the number of much-needed skilled workers. We must do better.
One part of a solution is to arm our teachers with better tools, such as digital content, that would lead to a more personalized and more impactful curricula for students. The other is harnessing the multitude of data generated in education to establish linkages between K-12, postsecondary, and workforce partners.
The latter part of the solution is what the Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) has chosen to deploy to better prepare their students for college and careers. The aim of the project is to facilitate collaboration between educators, parents, and students to develop academic, financial, and future career plans that align with student aspirations. Continue Reading »
The Texas A&M University System and IBM have created one of the world’s largest computational sciences infrastructure. Built on a mix of high performance computing technologies that include Blue Gene/Q, Power 7 and System x servers, scientists and engineers across the system’s 11 universities and seven state agencies will work on projects dedicated to advancing agriculture, geosciences and engineering. Early tests pitted the Blue Gene/Q, installed at TAMUS’s flagship campus in College Station, on a material sciences problem that previously took weeks. The Blue Gene/Q’s 418 Teraflops solved it in less than an hour.
Jon Mogford, the Vice Chancellor of Research for TAMUS, will play a key role in the coordination and success of these diverse projects, teams and technologies. He met with IBM Smarter Planet to discuss how the university system is putting this massive new infrastructure to work. Continue Reading »