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By David Kerr
Director, Corporate Strategy, IBM

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States, and, according to the American Cancer Society, more than 1.6 million new cases are expected to be diagnosed this year. Discoveries in molecular biology and genetics in recent years have produced new insights into cancer biology, but these advances have also ratcheted up the complexity of diagnosing and treating each case.

The disease is one of the most important fields of medicine, yet it’s devilishly complex and there’s too much information for any single practitioner to keep up with.

A collaboration announced today between Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and IBM could revolutionize how physicians  in the United States and worldwide get access to world-class information about cancer.

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USC, the Los Angeles Times and IBM Go Beyond
Best Picture to Look at the Bigger Picture

By Jonathan Taplin
Director of the Annenberg Innovation Lab
The University of Southern California

  As the parade of gowns and penguin suits made their way down the red carpet and into the Oscar awards ceremony last night, I had one eye glued to my TV and the other to my Twitter feed.

For more than three decades, my career in entertainment has spanned the worlds of music, film, technology and finance. As a long-standing member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Director of the Annenberg Innovation Lab, I always await this event with eager anticipation.

But this year I decided to marry my love of film, digital media and technology by applying science to the Oscars. Why?  I wanted to better understand how the public’s opinion of Oscar nominees stacks up against the actual winners on awards night.

Keeping up with the Oscar BuzzLike many movie fans, not all of my favorite picks mirror the Academy’s choices, or those of the movie-going public for that matter.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I was shouting at the TV during the 2011 Oscar telecast when “The Social Network” didn’t take home Best Picture. That’s why the collaboration between our Lab, IBM and the LA Timesto create the Oscar ‘Senti-Meter’ was so groundbreaking.

Using advances in analytics and natural language processing, the Senti-Meter enabled us to analyze millions of daily public comments via Twitter, comparing volume and even more importantly assessing the tone. It let us pick up on positive, negative and neutral opinions, even snarky vs. sincere tweets about the best actor, actress and film nominees.

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By David Ferrucci
Lead Researcher, IBM Watson

A year has passed since the Watson computer developed by my team at IBM Research defeated two all-time champions on the TV quiz show Jeopardy! A lot has happened since then. IBM launched a new business, IBM Watson Solutions, which is tasked with commercializing the technology. The Solutions team is developing versions of Watson for a number of industries, starting with healthcare and financial services. (Suggestions? Tweet to #WhatShouldWatsonDoNext?) Meanwhile, there’s plenty to do in IBM Research. We spent four years developing Watson for Jeopardy!, but that’s just the beginning of what Watson can become.

Watson is a first step in a new era of computing. There were two previous eras in the evolution of data processing machines: the tabulating era, which began in the late 1800s; and the computing era, which started in the 1940s. We’re now entering a period when machines will become increasingly capable of learning – graduating from moving bits around to understanding what they mean and how they apply to our lives.  These machines will be ubiquitous. They’ll be extremely powerful. And they’ll utterly transform the relationships between humans with computers. No longer will computers be simply data processing devices. Think of them as intelligent machines.

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February 15th, 2012

Since its stunning victory on Jeopardy! a year ago, IBM’s Watson computing system has been put to work in healthcare and financial services.  But the real-world possibilities are endless.

Click on the image for a larger view:

How Watson Can Work

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By Steve Canepa, General Manager, Global Media & Entertainment Industry

February seems to be a month of excitement for all movie, television and sports enthusiasts. It’s that time of year – Super Bowl madness and Oscar Buzz – frenzy so electric that it transcends worlds – into the social media world. Think about it, how long does it take for you to see a Tweet or Facebook post once you hear the winner for Best Motion Picture or following the first touch-down? Seconds? Continue Reading »

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John Squire, IBM Director of Digital Marketing & AnalyticsJohn Squire is IBM’s director of Digital Marketing and Analytics.

Updated Post

3 February 2012, 11:30 AM Eastern

Just like on the field, Eli Manning is riding a late surge to overtake Tom Brady in the IBM and USC analysis of Super Bowl XLVI social media sentiment.  Overnight results of Super Bowl Twitter buzz drove Giants quarterback Eli Manning’s ‘T score’ for positive sentiment ahead of Tom Brady. Manning now leads with 66% vs. Brady’s 61%, which represents an 8-point shift compared to the previous day. In another interesting development positive sentiment for Giants head coach jumped dramatically with his score rating increasing to 76% positive. That places Coach Coughlin above all of the players and coaches on both teams.
This day-to-day shift in Super Bowl fan sentiment illustrates the speed at which consumer sentiments can shift online — a factor that businesses are watching closely due to the potential impact on their brand equity and sales.

By applying analytics in social media settings we can identify nuances – positive, negative, irony, snarky vs. sincerity, in real-time.  That’s enough time to help an organization, or in this case professional athletes, adjust their comments and actions to dramatically (and positively) impact their brands.

Original Post

2 February 2012

One of the most dramatic NFL games ever played was Super Bowl XLII pitting the undefeated (18–0) New England Patriots led by record-setting quarterback Tom Brady against the surprising NY Giants with young, unproven Eli Manning at the helm.   A thrilling, some say shocking victory for the Giants ended the Patriots bid to be the only 19–0 undefeated champion in league history.  And now Super Bowl XLVI –  The Rematch —   anticipated to be the most watched American television show in history, promises to take social media to a whole new level.

As my colleague, and former NFL player Kevin Nosbusch posted on Wednesday, IBM and the University of Southern California Annenberg Innovation Lab are conducting the first sentiment analysis of the two Super Bowl quarterbacks to illustrate how new analytics technologies make it possible to quickly assess the positive, negative and neutral sentiments shared by fans.

Why is this sentiment analysis important to IBM? In addition to being a longtime partner of the NFL, IBM recognizes that its clients, just like football players, are closely connected to their brand presence.

Using advances in analytics companies, academics, journalists can gain new insights into consumer perceptions via social media on endless topics from football and baseball to movies and retailing. Technologies can even distinguish irony and figure out which tweets are just background noise and those that are truly important.

Branding Upset on the Digital Playing Field

The Super Bowl analysis shows us that today the two quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Eli Manning are in statistical dead heat:  Brady earning 65% positive sentiment and Eli Manning earning 62% positive sentiment.  That actually represents a big branding upset on the digital playing field. Most sports and marketing followers would assume that Brady should be far ahead given his lofty status as an elite QB for many years and three championship rings.

Super Bowl social sentiment indexOther noteworthy findings show that wide receivers have upstaged the quarterbacks, who are being positioned in the news media as the chief protagonists — Wes Welker is #1 in positive sentiment and Victor Cruz is a close 2nd.  Interestingly Brady leads by 3% points, exactly the point spread Las Vegas oddsmakers have favored the Patriots.

So while it looks like Tom Brady is going into the game as the Social MVP, now is not the time to get cocky.  Eli Manning is holding his own against the more experienced Brady in terms of positive sentiment.

The IBM USC analysis illustrates the potential insight and benefits that social media analytics can deliver to a brand — whether you’re an professional football player or a global enterprise.  Businesses that ignore the impact of social media will be stuck on the sidelines.

Learn more about IBM and USC AIL social media analysis projects.

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Kevin Nosbusch is an IBM senior technology consultant based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1973 he played for the Fighting Irish during Notre Dame’s National Championship season, and went on to play for the San Diego Chargers.

When I played football at the University of Notre Dame and for the San Diego Chargers, broadcast television and radio were the primary ways fans enjoyed the game. There was no ESPN, no sports talk radio, the Internet was only known by DARPA scientists and social media didn’t exist.

Gosh, I sound pretty old. But in just 30 years the media and sports industries have been completely transformed by technology.  Today, fans are not only Tweeting about their favorite players and teams, but just last week at the Pro Bowl athletes were participating in the virtual conversation on the field at Twitter stations.

This week, IBM and the University of Southern California Annenberg Innovation Lab (AIL) are conducting an analysis of social media trends related to Super Bowl Quarterbacks Tom Brady and Eli Manning.  By analyzing hundreds of thousands of public tweets they’ll determine the fans’ sentimental favorite – the people’s champion if you will.

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Vote for this as the coolest IBM 5 in 5 prediction by clicking the “Like” button below.

Read and in-depth blog post from IBM Research about the technology underlying the prediction.

Join in the Twitter conversation at #IBM5in5

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IBM, MIT Sloan School of Management and Harvard Business School today are sponsoring a symposium at the the two universities. The morning topic: How advances in information technology can help improve productivity, and improve incomes and create jobs for the 99%. It’s being followed this afternoon by a mock Jeopardy! match between Watson, IBM’s very smart computer, and teams from MIT and HBS.


Teams of three students from MIT/Sloan and HBS take on IBM’s Watson. (This is only the second contest matching Watson against collegians. In the previous contest, Watson beat teams from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. Pitt came in second, much to the chagrin of rival CMU!)

Harvard wins the first question, with “What is Belize?” Answering: countries in central America, ending with “e”

But then Watson takes over, running the category.

The machine picks “Who’s Your Daddy Company?” as the next category, eliciting a huge hook of laughter from the audience.

They finished the Jeopardy! round, with Watson, $8600; Harvard, $5200  ; and MIT,  $-200 .

(I got disconnected from HBS’s Wi-Fi at a crucial moment, destroying the coverage of the second round. Grrrrr)

Final Jeopardy!

Clue: Finding the spot for this memorial caused its creator to say “Americans will march across that skyline.”

The question: Mt. Rushmore.

Harvard and Watson answer correctly. MIT does not.

Final score: Watson, $53,601; Harvard, $42,399; MIT, $100.

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No computing paradigm lasts forever, so new approaches must be found to support the next phase of computing: learning systems. IBM Research’s colloquium, Frontiers of IT,  being held today at the Watson Lab in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., explores disruptive innovations that could utterly transform the industry over the next two decades.

To Tweet or follow the commentary on Twitter, use #ITfrontiers.



4:15 pm – 5:15 pm      Panel:  The Next Grand Challenges in Computing
What is it? How should it be design and conducted?

Jim Schatz, Johns Hopkins
Applied Information Sciences
Former director, R&D, National Security Agency

My challenge for IBM Reserach is to put together a complete and formal proof for Fermat’s Last Theorem, one of the major theories of mathematics.

(Fermat’s Last Theorem states that no three positive integers a, b, and c can satisfy the equation anbncn for any integer value of n greater than two.)

We need computers to generate and prove new theories. “Where we’re going is the fully automated mathematician.”

“It’s the next generation of mathematics, and the implications for humanity will be profound.”

He’s asked: The implications for business and society?

“Can’t say. But every bit of mathematics that has been invented has been applied. The mathematics that comes out of this will get past the limitations we see in computing. You’ll have to trust me on this one: If we build it, they will come.”

David Aronoff
Flybridge Venture Capital

IBM is the eco-friendly company, applying IT to smarter cities and a smarter world. The challenge is for IBM to build a high-performance, data-class server that operates in a carbon neutral footprint. Also, make the process for building it eco-safe and carbon neutral, and the parts should be recyclable. And it should be built in the United States.

Erik Kruse
Marketing strategy, future consumer demands

We’re on the brink of a new society. We need to rethink things. Thanks to computing and mobile technology we have empowered people. We have digital natives who are coming out into the adult world. They have different expectations and mindset. They expected to be connected. That will act as a change catalyst and set new rules, and help define our next grand challenge.

“The grand challenge is we can use the smarter and network society not to play chess or jeopardy, but address climate change, aging population, scarce resources, and poverty. These are the global challenges.”

“We have to do it on a global scale and we have to have  system were we include everyone.”

Ashifi Gogo
CEO, Sproxil

His startup provides information for tracking the pharmaceutical industry supply chain.

He suggests that IBM develop a system for feeding back consumer input to the producers of products and services. It’s “reverse logistics.

You could empower people to use their cell phones to send feedback. Leverage crowdsourcing. You add an electronic record to cash-based transactions.

Moderator: Irving Wladawsky-Berger
Chairman Emeritus, IBM Academy of Technology

We are living in an increasingly connected, complex and unpredictable world. If you need to find out what’s going on and made decisions, how do you do it in this kind of world? You can take a more statistical approach.

The grand challenge is: is there something IBM can do to formalize the transition from the traditional management world to one where people use these sophisticated new tools to improve the way they make decisions.

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