By Mahmoud Naghshineh
I recently helped my 22-year-old son, who is vegan, pick out a vegetable juicer. He told me a bit about what he was looking for, including the fact that the machine should ingest leafy greens like kale effectively and it should not run so hot that it would diminish the nutritional value of raw vegetables. I searched crowd-sourcing product review Web sites and came back with a recommendation. His reaction: “That’s a good one. Everybody’s talking about it.”
He had reached the same conclusion that I had via my research by soaking up information and opinions from his own social network.
This experience brings home to me one of the salient truths in this age of the digital consumer: Social networks provide tremendous value not just for the consumer but for the creators of products and services who are determined to engage with people as individuals—rather than by catering to traditional market segments. With the right tools, a company can understand my son’s tastes nearly as well as he does. Continue Reading »
By John Kelly
A few weeks ago, I shared a dinner table in Johannesburg with Adrian Tiplady, one of the managers of Square Kilometre Array South Africa, which is managing the country’s involvement in the Square Kilometre Array astronomy project. The SKA is one of the most ambitious science efforts ever launched. The goal of the 10 countries involved is to decipher radio waves from deep space in order to solve the riddles of the universe and the nature of matter. Yet something Adrian told me totally blew my mind: he said the computing challenges posed by the SKA are just as great as those related to astronomy.
It’s gratifying when scientists from other domains come together to push computing and computer science forward. And it’s even more gratifying when organizations like Tiplady’s form partnerships with IBM to bring cutting-edge technologies to bear on the most demanding tasks ever dreamed up by humans. Today, SKA South Africa announced that it has joined IBM and ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, in a multi-year public-private partnership funded primarily by the Dutch government aimed at developing an information technology system for harvesting insights from the SKA’s data.
Last September, when Typhoon Sanba smashed into the Korean peninsula, it packed winds so strong that they sent rocks flying through the air like missiles and caused massive power outages.
“Hwangsa” storms, carrying dense clouds of yellow dust from China’s Gobi Desert that are sometimes loaded with heavy metals and carcinogens, sweep across the peninsula from West to East.
Menaced by such destructive weather phenomena, South Korea is upgrading its national weather information system with the goal of understanding weather patterns better and predicting better the location and ferocity of weather events. The upgrade being installed by the Korean Meteorological Administration increases the agency’s data storage capacity by nearly 1000% to 9.3 petabytes, making it Korea’s most capable storage system. IBM provides the storage hardware and software. Continue Reading »
By Dr. Lora Ramunno
The study of the interaction between light and matter on the nanoscale (a nanometre is about one billionth of a metre) is revolutionizing many areas of science and technology. Powerful applications can be designed, for example, to capture real time images of live cells, tissues and biological processes or to help manufacture extremely small devices that can be used in diverse areas including telecommunications, computation and biotechnology.
These applications hold the potential to significantly improve early detection of disease or provide a better understanding of biological processes at a cellular level, as well as to identify hidden insights that can help companies move into newer and smarter manufacturing in the high technology market. Continue Reading »
By Mark Kris, M.D.
As a longtime fan of the TV game show, Jeopardy!, I was fascinated when I watched an IBM supercomputer named Watson beat all-time Jeopardy! champions, two years ago this month.
I was particularly interested because my friend and colleague Larry Norton had previously alerted me to the fact that systems like IBM Watson could be harnessed to improve cancer care and research. Combining the abilities to process massive amounts of data and using natural language processing could not only accomplish amazing things….like winning Jeopardy!, but also revolutionize care and research, accelerating progress for people with cancers. After a year on this project, I remain as excited today as I was on day one.
Over the past year, we at Memorial Sloan-Kettering have worked with an IBM team to train Watson to help assist medical professionals in choosing treatments for lung and breast cancers. We are sharing our knowledge and expertise in oncology to help Watson learn everything it can about cancer care and how Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s experts use medical information and their experience in personalized cancer treatments.
By Richard Silberman, Writer/Researcher, IBM Communications
When Osamuyimen (Uyi) Stewart left his native Nigeria 23 years ago to attend graduate school at Cambridge University, computer science was still just a concept in Africa. Although Stewart had learned some programming languages in college, he had never actually used a computer to develop an application.
This year, Stewart will return to a very different Africa, moving his family to Nairobi, Kenya to serve as chief scientist at IBM Research-Africa, IBM’s first research lab on the continent. In his new role, which he officially started in August working from the T.J. Watson Research Center in New York, Stewart spearheads innovation for a vast emerging market that is rapidly growing and embracing new technologies.
For Stewart, who previously worked at the IBM Services Innovation Lab and was responsible for technical strategy and program management across eight global labs, his return to Africa is filled with meaning and emotion. Whereas a quarter century ago using an actual computer was just a dream, today Stewart leads development of advanced systems to help solve some of Africa’s most pressing challenges. Continue Reading »
When the three IBM researchers who invented the technology that underlies LASIK and PRK refractive surgery made their breakthrough discovery in 1981, scientists in the physical sciences department at the Thomas J. Watson Sr. Laboratory in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., were considered to be “islands of expertise.” Their job was to labor away in their individual labs on fundamental advances in their specialties. But, in practice, things worked out differently. And that helps explain how a physicist, a chemist and a materials scientist made one of the most important discoveries ever for the practice of refractive eye surgery.
Today, interdisciplinary collaboration is one of the pillars of IBM’s approach to advancing science and technology. And, in the coming years, as scientific fields collide with increasing frequency, the ability of scientists to build bridges between their domains will likely be one of the core competencies for research organizations–whether corporate, governmental or academic.
The three IBM Research scientists showed how it’s done. For their efforts, James Wynne, the physicist; Rangaswamy Srinivasan, the chemist; and Samuel Blum, the materials scientist, will be honored at the White House today when President Obama presents the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. (Unfortunately, Blum died a few weeks ago. Srinivasan is no longer at IBM.) This is just the most recent of many honors the three men have received over the years, but for Wynne the greatest satisfaction lies closer to home. “The best thing for me is that I invented something that corrected my own son’s eyesight,” he says.
By Dr. James Hendler
Every single student in the Department of Computer Science here at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has the potential to revolutionize computing. But with the arrival of Watson at Rensselaer, they’re even better positioned to do so.
Watson has caused the researchers in my field of artificial intelligence (AI) to rethink some of our basic assumptions. Watson’s cognitive computing is a breakthrough technology, and it’s really amazing to be here at Rensselaer, where we will be the first university to get our hands on this amazing system.
With 90 percent of the world’s data generated in the past two years, the ability for people and even traditional computing systems to make sense of this data has grown complex. The addition of Watson to our campus is very timely considering the growth of what some have termed “Big Data.”
In 1976, Joseph Weizenbaum, a leading computer scientist, wrote a book called Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgement to Calculation, in which he criticized the field of AI for trying to replace human creativity and thought with the power of computers. He suggested that humans and computers were inherently different, and that trying to get computers to think like humans was an insurmountable task, if it was possible at all. Continue Reading »
Stand on a busy big-city street corner at lunch time and you will witness a chaotic scene. Thousands of people are walking every which way, getting on and off buses, descending to subways, riding in cars, and walking in and out of buildings. Where did all these people come from? And where are they going? Until now, such questions were unanswerable–mysteries of the city. But no more.
Today, thanks to deep analytics, we can for the first time understand the complexities of cities in motion.
IBM Researchers have developed analytics software that provides accurate and meaningful information about massive numbers of peoples’ movements. These insights can be used by city managers to plan new transit routes, improve the efficiency of current transit systems, and coordinate the various transportation modes with a goal of making moving around in cities a lot more convenient and comfortable. The project, Insights in Motion, is a so-called First-of-a-Kind (FOAK) collaboration with transportation officials in Dubuque, Iowa, and Istanbul, Turkey.
A paper about Dubuque’s piece of the project, Dubuque Smart Travel, was presented Jan. 16 at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board.