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SP Masters iPadBy Rick Singer

Ever since Augusta National Golf Club hosted its first Invitational event in 1934, a commitment to history and tradition has permeated the fabric of the Masters Tournament, which begins play this week.

While the Masters has delivered many thrilling, magical moments among the Georgia pines of the Augusta National golf course, many people may not be aware of the Tournament’s unwavering dedication to enriching the game of golf. From playing 18 holes on each of the Tournament’s four days — instead of 36 holes on the third and final day, which was the standard 80 years ago — to introducing the first cumulative over/under scoring method, the Masters has consistently established innovative practices that became and remain standards in the sport. Continue Reading »

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Manny Schecter, Chief Patent Counsel, Intellectual Property Law, IBM

Manny Schecter, Chief Patent Counsel, Intellectual Property Law, IBM

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 »

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By Steve Hamm

Alexandra Mojsilovic, IBM Fellow

Alexandra Mojsilovic, IBM Fellow

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 »

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(From L to R): ICE Creative Director Michael Laiskonis, IBM Senior Software Engineer Florian Pinel, ICE Director of Culinary Development James Briscione

(From L to R): ICE Creative Director Michael Laiskonis, IBM Senior Software Engineer Florian Pinel, ICE Director of Culinary Development James Briscione

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 »

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By Sima Nadler

SP Stocking Shelf

Field testing the IBM mobile digital shopping assistant app.

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 »

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Florian Pinel

Florian Pinel, Senior Software Engineer, IBM Watson & Cognitive Cooking

By Florian Pinel

Raise your hand if you have interests outside of your day job. Probably most everyone, I imagine. Now, how often do they serendipitously collide? Probably not that often, right? But that’s what happened for me two years ago when I applied my computer science skills to my love of the culinary arts as part of IBM’s Cognitive Cooking project.

If you’re attending South by Southwest in Austin from March 7-11, come meet me at the IBM Food Truck. I’ll be showing how this recipe-generating technology works, while chefs will be preparing the dishes you can vote for on Twitter.

Austrian Chocolate Burrito

Austrian Chocolate Burrito

The idea started when my team was brainstorming on “Watson-like projects” – nothing so specific as “cooking,” yet. We wanted to know: could the cognitive computing that Watson uses in healthcare and other industries, also be creative?

That angle then spun into “could a machine come up with a recipe we could make into a dish that we would actually want to eat?” You can read about its early iterations, and its potential societal impacts, in the 2012 IBM 5 in 5: Taste prediction. Continue Reading »

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Chef Michael Laiskonis

Creative Director and Chef Michael Laiskonis. Photo credit: Institute of Culinary Education

Chef Michael Laiskonis has worked in some of the world’s best restaurants, including New York’s Le Bernardin, a Michelin Guide three-star restaurant, as executive pastry chef. Now the creative director at the Institute of Culinary Education, Laiskonis is helping IBM “teach” a computer system to develop novel recipes. The “cognitive cooking” collaboration was on display at IBM’s Pulse Conference, where ICE chefs prepared everything from an Austrian chocolate burrito, to a Baltic apple pie in the IBM Food Truck. Next, the truck and tech will stop in Austin for the South by Southwest Interactive Conference. Before Chef Laiskonis set out for the Lone Star state’s capital, he spoke with the Smarter Planet blog about what it’s like to work with a computer that knows ingredients down to the molecular level, and how such a system would be accepted in the kitchen.

Smarter Planet: How did you become interested in cooking, and inspired to be a chef?

Michael Laiskonis: I fell into cooking quite by accident while I was pursuing a degree in fine arts. What began as something I “could” do simply in order to pay the bills quickly became something I felt “compelled” to do. The underlying science of cooking, the process of transformation, the hard work of making something with one’s own hands and the instant gratification of making people happy – all of those things still drive me today. Continue Reading »

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SP africaphoto_winner

‘Digital Migration” – Winner of IBM’s The World is Our Lab – Africa photo competition.
(Photo: Lawrence Mwangi, Nairobi)


What happens when you ask an entire continent to illustrate its challenges and opportunities in photos?

That’s exactly what IBM’s newest research lab wanted to find out. IBM Research – Africa, which opened its doors last November, was created with an ambitious mission: to conduct applied and far-reaching exploratory research into the grand challenges of the African continent by delivering commercially-viable innovations that impact people’s lives. Though it opened with clear objectives and an understanding of many of the infrastructural concerns across the continent, the Lab wanted a more personal understanding of the challenges.

“We quickly realized that if we were to make a difference in Africa, we needed to operate outside of the walls of the lab,” said Dr. Kamal Bhattacharya, Director, IBM Research – Africa. “While we benefit from 25 PHDs from some of the world’s best universities, it is crucial that we enter a dialogue with the people who best understand their own realities.” Continue Reading »

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Rob High, CTO, IBM Watson Group

Rob High, CTO, IBM Watson Group

By Rob High

My hometown of Austin, Texas, is food truck heaven. The city boasts more than 1000 trucks serving up an incredible variety of fare—everything from potato-chip-flavored ice cream sandwiches to Japanese deep fried octopus meatballs. When hordes of technorati and live music fans gather here for the annual South By Southwest (SXSW) festival next week, they’ll have plenty of culinary treats to choose from. But we have something really different to bring to the table — IBM’s Watson food truck.

truck-img-x2You’ve probably watched Watson compete on TV, but now for the first time you can see, taste and smell the results of its creativity.

The bright orange truck will serve up exotic delicacies including Indian Tumeric Paella, Italian Grilled Lobster and Ecuadorian Strawberry Dessert. Unlike the menus of the other trucks, these dishes were created through a collaboration between Watson, a cognitive computer, and award-winning chefs at New York’s Institute of Culinary Education (ICE). Continue Reading »

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Stephen Gold, VP, IBM Watson Group

Stephen Gold, VP, IBM Watson Group

By Stephen Gold

Ever since the early days of personal computing, scientists, sci-fi mavens and movie makers have envisioned a time when people would interact with pocket-sized intelligent digital assistants that would help them organize their lives and get things done.

Like flying cars, those intelligent digital assistants always seem to be off in the future.

Except that’s not so anymore. Today, scientists and engineers at IBM are designing cognitive systems that will ingest vast amounts of information, learn, reason, and interact with people in ways that are more natural to us.

Very soon, you’ll have all of the power of Watson, the Jeopardy-winning computer, delivered in the palm of your hand. In fact, some early adopters are already trying out test versions of the technology.

Many people think of Watson as a room-sized supercomputer. Today’s reality is quite different. The computing power of the original Watson has been squeezed into a space the size of three pizza boxes, and, thanks to the cloud, Watson’s intelligence can be accessed on your smart phone or tablet wherever and whenever you want it.

Continue Reading »

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