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IBM Research
June 17th, 2015

Ron Ambrosio, CTO, Smarter Energy Research, IBM

Ron Ambrosio, CTO, Smarter Energy Research, IBM

By Ron Ambrosio

You walk into a room at night and flip the light switch on the wall. The lights come on. You didn’t think twice about that …you were certain it would work. While we’re not at that point everywhere in the world yet, it is true of most industrialized regions that electricity is a highly reliable resource. But the reality behind that simple action of turning on a light switch is a constantly evolving list of uncertainties that utilities deal with 24/7.

Uncertainty takes many forms in the utility industry, from the health of individual devices as they age, to volatility of fuel prices, to the behavior of you, the consumer, and your use of electricity or natural gas. And uncertainty can be equated to risk — the risk of failing to achieve both operational and business objectives. That’s not a risk any business wants to take. Continue Reading »

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Dr. Daniel Oehme, Postdoctoral Researcher, IBM Research - Australia

Dr. Daniel Oehme, Postdoctoral Researcher, IBM Research – Australia

By Dr. Daniel Oehme

Over the millennia our ability to utilise plants in many different ways has allowed us to flourish as a species. Most importantly, they turn our waste carbon dioxide into oxygen.

But we have also used plants to provide shelter, to publish and transmit information on paper and as a food source. In fact, developing new ways to utilise plants has even led to population explosions throughout time, such as when we first developed granaries to store grain thousands of years ago. In these modern times of climate change, global warming, ever-increasing populations and fossil fuels, plants have never been more important. Continue Reading »

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Arvind Krishna, Dir., IBM Research

Arvind Krishna, Senior Vice President, IBM Research

By Arvind Krishna

Chemists at Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch consumer products giant, used to spend up to three months in their laboratories creating new formulations for liquid cleaning products. Now, they can perform the same work in 45 minutes or less–thanks to a collaboration between Unilever, one of the United Kingdom’s national laboratories and IBM.

Unilever product developers use iPads to set up tests and experiments, run simulations on an IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputer at the UK’s Hartree Centre lab, and see their results in 3D visualizations that help them explore the data and make discoveries that otherwise might elude them.

This is an example of what’s possible when government, businesses and tech companies combine forces to bring the power of supercomputing and sophisticated data analytics to bear on business problems. It’s also an example of the kind of collaboration I expect to see flourish as a result of an agreement IBM is announcing today with Britain’s Science & Technology Facility Council.

Continue Reading »

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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.

Continue Reading »

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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.

Continue Reading »

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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.

Continue Reading »

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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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