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IBM Research

Mark Ritter

Mark Ritter, Distinguished Research Staff Member, IBM Research

By Mark Ritter

In 1981, Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman challenged computer scientists to develop a new breed of computers based on quantum physics. Ever since then, scientists have been grappling with the difficulty of attaining such a grand challenge.

Employing quantum physics for computation is difficult in part because quantum information is very fragile, requiring the quantum elements to be cooled to near absolute zero temperature and shielded from electromagnetic radiation to minimize errors. This is so immensely different than our current approach to computation that the entire infrastructure of computing must be re-imagined and re-engineered.

Still, the challenges haven’t stopped physicists and computer scientists from trying, and an enormous amount of progress is being made. In fact, I believe we’re entering what will come to be seen as the golden age of quantum computing research.

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James Faulkner, All-Rounder, Australia (Source:

James Faulkner, All-Rounder, Australia (Source:

By Mitesh Vasa

All-rounder James Faulkner was scoring well before his double wicket maiden that clinched Australia’s 2015 Cricket World Cup finals win over New Zealand last month.

He was scoring with data, or maybe more appropriately, with #ScoreWithData, IBM’s social media insight analysis into players, teams, matches, brands, cities, and fans.

By the end of the six-week-long event played across Australia and New Zealand, Faulkner’s 30 percent “buzz” of 1 million tweets made him the online MVP, well before he earned player of the match versus Cup co-host New Zealand.

Sports provide opinionated natural language data, ripe for machine learning opportunities. That’s one of the reasons our team at IBM Research’s lab in India customized IBM BigInsights’ “social data accelerator” plug-in to scan Twitter for all things Cricket World Cup.

All told we scanned between 700 and 800 keywords per match, ranging from obvious ones like names of players, referees, and stadiums, to cricket-specific technology like “spidercam,” and “UDRS.” Continue Reading »

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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

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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March 25th, 2015

Ajay Royyuru

Ajay Royyuru, PhD and Director, Computational Biology Center at IBM Research

By Ajay Royyuru

A physician once told me that “your genes load the gun. Your lifestyle pulls the trigger.”

We were talking about how genetics play a role in the likelihood of a disease manifesting itself – and how the way we live also influences that likelihood. And it’s getting easier and faster for doctors and scientists to precisely understand which genes influence which diseases, and by how much.

This improved access and understanding of the genome, though, brings up challenges to the notion of ownership, consent, and privacy. Should a patient ask her siblings, parents and grandparents for permission to reveal genetic information? How much of a person’s genome should be tested, disclosed, or archived, per analysis? Continue Reading »

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March 16th, 2015

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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February 23rd, 2015

Neighbourgoods Market, Johannesburg, South Africa

Neighbourgoods Market, Johannesburg, South Africa

By Steve Hamm
IBM Chief Storyteller

The Braamfontein district was once the corporate heart of Johannesburg. Then, in late 1980’s, businesses started moving out of the neighborhood, initiating two decades of decay.

But today, Braamfontein is undergoing an amazing rebirth. Entrepreneurs are transforming abandoned buildings into trendy restaurants and shops as well as arts, culture and business centers. Young hipsters and entrepreneurs mix with students and tourists. Continue Reading »

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Bill Grady, IBM Brand Strategist

Bill Grady, IBM Brand Strategist

By Bill Grady

We prefer texting to phone calls and we expect integrated and seamless experiences with technology. We are the first generation to have grown up in the midst of a digital revolution, where information and answers are just a few clicks away. We are Millennials.

There’s been a lot written about Millennials. This generation, born roughly between 1980 and 1995, is already the largest in the workforce and will make up 75% of the world’s workforce by 2030. The change is disruptive.

Most articles about Millennials delve into dating culture, digital lives and even eating habits. Yet among all of that chatter, there is very little understood about what impact we are having in the workplace. Continue Reading »

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February 13th, 2015

Shanker Ramamurthy, Global Managing Partner, IBM Global Business Services

Shanker Ramamurthy, Global Managing Partner, IBM Global Business Services

By Shanker Ramamurthy

In today’s world, it can be difficult to stay abreast of the latest technological trends and distinguish true opportunities from over-hyped fads.

Despite tremendous advances in cognitive computing capabilities, organizations have only begun to scratch the surface of potential for this innovative technology.

From improving customer engagement to enhancing research capabilities that identify new, life-saving medical treatments, the potential value of cognitive-based solutions is boundless.

The first in a series of reports based on research from the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) study, Your Cognitive Future, identifies multiple opportunities across industries to apply cognitive computing today, as well as examines how the technology will evolve. Continue Reading »

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