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.
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.
By Judy Murphy
One of the most stressful parts of a nurse’s job is the so-called “handover,” which occurs at the beginning of the shift–typically at 7 a.m. or 7 p.m.
In a matter of minutes, they have to find out which patients have been assigned to them, get reports from the nurses who handled those patients during the previous shift, and plan everything for their shift, from administering medications and scheduling procedures to giving baths and doing assessments –all the while being aware of activities that are already on the books for each patient. Talk about multitasking! Continue Reading »
By Kyu Rhee, MD, MPP
There was an interesting decision to make within IBM about what to call a new business organization that we’re announcing today. Should it be named Watson Health or Watson Healthcare?
“Health” is an aspiration, for individuals and society. “Healthcare” describes an industry primarily focused on treating diseases.
While healthcare is essential, it represents just one of many factors that determine whether people live long and healthy lives. Some other critical factors are genetics, geography, behaviors, social/environmental influences, education, and economics. Unless society takes all of these factors into account and puts the individual at the center of the healthcare system, we won’t be able to make large-scale progress in helping people feel better and live longer. So, Watson Health it is. Continue Reading »
By Steve Hamm
Last November in a championship powerboat race off Key West, Florida, Nigel Hook, skipper of Lucas Oil 77, was knifing along at more than 140 mph when he got a heads up from his support team that one of the main batteries was about to fail. That would have left the boat dead in the water. Instead, Nigel quickly switched to another battery and completed the race–finishing in 3rd place.
How did the support team know the battery was about to fail? Lucas Oil 77 is not only a monster of a motorboat; it’s also a node on the Internet of Things. Hundreds of sensors attached to the engines, navigation system and crew members monitor their health and beam the data wirelessly into the cloud, where it’s analyzed, and, when the system spots trouble, Nigel and the support team get alerts. Continue Reading »
By Inhi Cho Suh and Kris Lovejoy
Innovation is born out of people thinking differently and from the various perspectives each person brings to the table. And it’s up to companies to create an environment where diversity of thought is valued – where employees feel comfortable stepping outside the mainstream and taking risks. We need to encourage employees to be open, curious and ask questions. Urge them to think deeply and challenge the conventional thinking. They need to be able to take chances and experiment and ask the question that everyone else is too embarrassed to ask. If they make a mistake, challenge them to step back and learn from the experience. Encourage them to view every process, policy or financial hurdle as an “opportunity” as opposed to a barrier. These diverse viewpoints are the very fuel of innovative thinking. Continue Reading »
By Wayne Balta
Today, IBM is participating in a White House roundtable on greenhouse gas reductions, which spotlights leadership by IBM and other large Federal suppliers who are committing to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
IBM has long taken environmental sustainability seriously, and we have been making aggressive moves for 25 years to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Today IBM is announcing new goals for the use of renewable energy and for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. In the case of greenhouse gas emissions, this marks the company’s third generation goal.
By Steve Hamm
Chief Storyteller, IBM
When Tom Rosamilia took command of IBM’s hardware division in early 2013, he faced a huge challenge. With the POWER systems, IBM made the world’s most capable server computers, yet sales were declining and there was no quick recovery in sight. One critical issue: the company’s high-end servers didn’t have a foothold in the fast-growing market for consumer- and public-cloud services.
A possible answer to Tom’s problem walked through his office door the first week he was on the job–in the person of Bradley McCredie, the chief technology officer for the hardware division. Brad urged him to make a radical change: Open IBM’s proprietary processor and system technology for use and modification by others.
The two men had discussed the idea previously–a number of times, in fact. But now Tom was in charge and Brad argued that the time had come to make a decision. “I said, ‘Let’s go for it,’” recalls Tom.
By Alistair Rennie
Leaders at a global food service company wanted to understand more precisely the types of people who visit their stores throughout a typical day. The goal: To spot hidden patterns that could help them market to specific customers more successfully.
With IBM’s help, they began incorporating Twitter streams into their analysis of loyalty-program data. The exercise quickly produced surprising insights. For instance, they learned that people with similar tastes in food and drinks tended to come in at specific times of day. One time-constrained type of customer, for instance, visits the stores nearly every morning, purchases food and beverages to go, and even buys their lunch during their morning visit. Continue Reading »
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 »
By Steve Hamm
Chief Storyteller, IBM
During the TV broadcast for the 1977 World Series, color commentator Howard Cosell left a seemingly indelible mark on New York City’s Bronx Borough when the camera panned above Yankee Stadium and captured a building involved in flames. “Ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning,” he said. It was a time when people were giving up not just on the Bronx but on the American city as an institution.
Many cities have staged amazing turnarounds in recent years. But can the Bronx? Continue Reading »