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Dharmendra Modha, IBM Fellow

Dharmendra Modha, IBM Fellow

By Steve Hamm
IBM Writer

The idea of making machines modeled on the human brain has thrilled and confounded scientists since the earliest days of computing in the 1940s. The brain is a remarkable organ. Thanks to this spongy mass the size of a grapefruit, which uses just 20 watts of power, we humans understand complex concepts, navigate the physical world, and create marvelous things—from spacecraft to sonnets.

Not surprisingly, imitating the brain has proven to be incredibly difficult. Conventional computers don’t even try. They use linear logic and hard-wired circuitry to calculate, send messages, analyze data and organize knowledge consuming enormous amounts of power while failing to match the brain’s protean capabilities.

But, today, we’re at a turning point in the history of computing. The SyNAPSE team at IBM Research, funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and aided by scientists from several universities, has demonstrated powerful yet energy-efficient neuromorphic chip that has the potential to help fulfill the dreams of the computer industry’s pioneers.  “I hope this will inspire completely different thinking about what computing can do,” says Dharmendra S. Modha, IBM Fellow and principal investigator of the SyNAPSE Project.

An article about the breakthrough was published today by Science magazine.

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Xiaowei Shen, Dir., IBM Research China

Xiaowei Shen, Dir., IBM Research China

By Dr. Xiaowei Shen

To help China deliver on its ambitious energy and environmental goals, IBM recently launched a major 10-year initiative called Green Horizon. Led by IBM Research – China with support from our network of 12 global research labs and a number of high-profile partners, we will bring cutting-edge technologies to bear on three key areas: air quality management, renewable energy forecasting and energy optimization. Continue Reading »

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Xiaowei Shen, Dir., IBM Research China

Xiaowei Shen, Dir., IBM Research China

By Xiaowei Shen

China’s economic development story is truly incredible. With an average GDP growth of 10% over the past 30 years, China has emerged as the world’s second-largest economy and largest manufacturer.

But as a nation we realize that for China to sustain rapid growth some things have to change. One of the most central and widely discussed issues is ensuring growth while protecting the environment and the health of our citizens. We understand that our success should not come at the cost of future generations. Continue Reading »

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Dr. Guillermo Cecchi, an IBM Reseach staff member working in Biometaphorical Computing

Dr. Guillermo Cecchi, an IBM Reseach staff member working in Biometaphorical Computing

By Dr. Guillermo Cecchi

More than 63 million psychiatric interviews are conducted every year. But none of them are analyzed in a quantitative codified manner. Surprising? Not really. Doctors don’t have time to find patterns in the pages of notes they keep per patient. Those pages, though, keep “big data” on psychiatric issues that analytics can help unlock and predict before episodes occur.

Now, after a multi-year study and accompanying development of text analysis algorithms, we may finally be able to quantify patterns in these interviews, and help doctors treat patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions. Continue Reading »

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Chandu Visweswariah, IBM Fellow & Director of the Smarter Energy Research Institute

Chandu Visweswariah, IBM Fellow & Director of the Smarter Energy Research Institute

By Chandu Visweswariah

When the Smarter Energy Research Institute (SERI) was formed in 2012, bringing together IBM, Hydro-Québec, DTE Energy, and Alliander, it began with a simple goal: to use data analytics to build the energy utility of the future.

Two years later — armed with client data and 9 showcase applications — our three partners and 20 utility companies from around the world attending the second annual SERI conference are set to learn how utilities can make use of data to transform how they operate and serve their customers.

Think of SERI as a utilities innovation mechanism. It pairs IBM’s open analytics toolkit platform of application-specific code with energy and utility companies’ ideas, needs and expertise to develop new software applications that solve their operational problems. Continue Reading »

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IBM_Watson_AvatarThe era of cognitive computing is upon us. Scientists and engineers are designing new systems that ingest vast amounts of information, learn from their interactions with people and data, reason, and help us make better decisions. The opportunities are vast, but so are the challenges. That’s why fulfilling the promise of cognitive computing will require contributions from a large number of people in industry, academia, government and civic life.

So please join the New York Academy of Sciences, ETH Zurich and IBM as they present a discussion between Lino Guzzella, president-elect of ETH, the MIT of Europe; and John Kelly, senior vice president and director of IBM Research, the largest corporate research organization in the world. They will speak about research and collaboration to advance cognitive computing. View the discussion on this Livestream site at 7 p.m. And join the Twitter conversation at #CognitiveComputing, #ETH and #ZHNY.

 

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Jamie Garcia, IBM Research scientist

Jamie Garcia, IBM Research scientist

By Steve Hamm

When scientists succeed at IBM Research, they tend to stay. Robert Dennard, the inventor of the DRAM, for instance, had been at IBM for 56 years when he retired earlier this year. But there are researchers at the opposite end of the seniority spectrum who are already making their marks—on IBM and the world.

One of them is Jeannette “Jamie” Garcia, a 31-year-old chemist who became a full-time employee at IBM Research just last November—after a one-year stint as a post-doctoral fellow. Jamie has done something quite remarkable: she spearheaded the invention of a new class of materials, which have the potential to shake up the aerospace, auto and semiconductor industries.

Jamie’s team at IBM Research – Almaden, which is led by chemistry pioneer James Hedrick, completed the work on the new class of polymers. Their advances were made public for the first time in an article published today in Science magazine.

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Tal Rabin

Tal Rabin, Manager of Cryptographic Research, IBM Research

“In most cases of security breaches, it’s not the cryptography that’s the problem. It’s the implementation,” said IBM’s Manager of Cryptographic Research Tal Rabin.

She’s referring to the cryptography used to protect our online lives – passwords, two-factor authentication, etc. The implementation is the software built around that cryptography – websites, email, etc. Holes in the latter allow hackers to circumvent the former.

Tal, whose career of writing and developing sophisticated cryptographic protocols has led to a New York Times feature, World Science Festival presentation, an appearance on WNYC’s The Takeaway’s Science Fair, and most-recently the Anita Borg Institute’s “Women of Vision” award, started out studying computer science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with the goal, as she puts it, “to get a tech job.” Continue Reading »

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By Chris Sciacca

To create more energy-efficient clouds, crunch Big Data faster and design smaller, instrumented devices for a smarter planet, we need a new generation of technologies. This new generation will require even further improvements at the nano-scale to create more efficient transistors.

But before these microscopic technologies go into mass production, new techniques are needed for creating microscopic prototypes smaller than 30 nanometers — the size when prototyping becomes increasingly difficult. In 2010 IBM scientists published a paper in the peer-reviewed journal of Science demonstrating the technique by designing a nano-sized map of the world and now in 2014 the research is coming to market. Continue Reading »

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Dr. Dinesh Verma, IBM Fellow

To say mobile data traffic is getting congested would be the understatement of at least the last year. That’s because in that span of time, traffic from mobile devices has grown 81 percent. To help manage this data tsunami and keep information flowing, Dr. Dinesh Verma, IBM Fellow, worked on technologies applying IT principles to wireless networks. He and his wife, Paridhi Verma, Government and Education Marketing Manager at IBM, put their findings in a new book, Techniques for Surviving Mobile Data Explosion, that details the challenge and solution. The Smarter Planet blog caught up with Verma recently for more insight.

Smarter Planet: How much mobile data are we talking about?
Dinesh Verna: A huge amount of mobile data! As a sample point, global mobile data traffic grew 81 percent in 2013, and by the end of 2013 had reached 1.5 exabytes per month. That’s up from 820 petabytes per month at the end of 2012.

To provide some perspective, the total amount of data transferred in one full year on the Internet was about 1 exabyte just a decade ago, in 2004.

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