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 Chris Nay, IBM Research Communications
Every year, top U.S. men’s college basketball teams enter a month-long tournament for a chance to be crowned champion. And it always stirs up fan and pundit predictions to pick potential winners of all 63 games.
To really give the pot a stir this year, Berkshire Hathaway, Quicken Loans and Yahoo Sports teamed up to create the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge. Choose every match up correctly and win $1B.
While the odds of picking a perfect bracket in the challenge were steep, it didn’t put off millions of basketball fans everywhere from filling out brackets. However, it only took 48 hours, 25 games (and several upsets) for every bracket to be eliminated. (See an infographic that breaks down the bracket data.)
By Alicia Buksar, IBM Communications
As a teenager parking cars at a Fort Lauderdale country club, IBM customer analytics consulting leader Mike Haydock picked up much more than just tips.
Take the life lesson he received one day from Academy Award winning actor George C. Scott. “He gave me a tremendous insight on how he got into the role of Patton,” Haydock said. “He told me he became that role. He became Patton. That’s how he was able to pull that performance off.”
Haydock says he applies that same philosophy to his own work with clients. “I start to think like them,” he said. “So I know everything about the problem they’re trying to solve and probably more.”
That immersive approach has made Haydock, known as the ‘Math Maestro,’ one of IBM’s most sought after analytics experts, a demand that is likely to grow now that he has been named an IBM Fellow. The Fellow designation acknowledges an employee’s important contributions as well as their industry-leading innovations in developing some of the world’s most important technologies. 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 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 Ron Ambrosio
Machines have been connecting to the Internet for many years. To the point that, in today’s Internet of Things, more “Things” are connected to the Internet than people. This evolution now has industrial equipment branching out of their closed control networks to connect to enterprise networks, and in some cases to the Internet, too. But it’s created a challenge in how that data is understood and used. So, we joined AT&T, Cisco, GE, and Intel to establish the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) to help influence the global standards development process for how industrial equipment – like transformers in the grid – connect and communicate.
In the same way you connect to the Internet, whether over wifi or a mobile network, no matter where you go or what device you use, proprietary industrial equipment needs a standard way to communicate, too. Continue Reading »
By Lisa Seacat DeLuca
For me, the intersection of Big Data and geolocation happened on a hot summer day in Chicago, 2006.
I was asked to fly to the Windy City for training on a new IBM product that I would soon be working with. My coworker, Larissa Wojciechowski, was new to our team but very familiar with Chicago, having grown up there and having family that still lived nearby. We decided to share a rental car to get from the airport to the hotel. On our last day of training, class ended early, so Larissa called up her parents to ask if they’d be up for catching dinner before our flight. We agreed to meet at a seafood restaurant that Larissa had never heard of.
This was before smart phones were as smart as they are today, so we were left to a good old GPS device to get us to the restaurant. As we were driving, Larissa was on the phone with her parents who kept giving us directions to where they were, saying things like, “We just passed the gas station on the corner.” Continue Reading »
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 »