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Another Person for a Smarter Planet

Tal Rabin

Tal Rabin, Manager of Cryptographic Research, IBM Research

“In most cases of security breaches, it’s not the cryptography that’s the problem. It’s the implementation,” said IBM’s Manager of Cryptographic Research Tal Rabin.

She’s referring to the cryptography used to protect our online lives – passwords, two-factor authentication, etc. The implementation is the software built around that cryptography – websites, email, etc. Holes in the latter allow hackers to circumvent the former.

Tal, whose career of writing and developing sophisticated cryptographic protocols has led to a New York Times feature, World Science Festival presentation, an appearance on WNYC’s The Takeaway’s Science Fair, and most-recently the Anita Borg Institute’s “Women of Vision” award, started out studying computer science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with the goal, as she puts it, “to get a tech job.” Continue Reading »

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Maria Dubovitskaya, Predoctoral Security Researcher, and Member of IBM Academy of Technology,

Maria Dubovitskaya, Predoctoral Security Researcher, and Member of IBM Academy of Technology

By Chris Sciacca

Ballet or mathematics? Most ordinary eight year olds girls would probably choose ballet, but Maria Dubovitskaya was anything but an ordinary eight year old.

One day, after ballet lessons in the Moscow suburb of Domodedovo, Maria’s parents were running a little late. She heard other children, mostly boys her age, clacking away on IBM 286 PC keyboards in the classroom next door. Peeking through a crack in the door Maria was overcome with curiosity.

“I remember they were drawing different figures on the screens and magically changing their shapes and colors simply by typing on the keyboard. I just had to try this out for myself.”

When her parents finally arrived, she immediately asked them to sign her up for a computer class.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but thinking back now, my parents were very supportive. In fact, a few days later my dad bought me a programming book for kids called The Encyclopedia of Professor Fortran, and also brought home a very simple computer. I was hooked,” said Maria. Continue Reading »

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Michelle Zhou, senior manager, User Systems and Experience Research group at  IBM Research

Michelle Zhou, senior manager, User Systems and Experience Research group at IBM Research

By Richard Silberman, Writer/Researcher, IBM Communications

The way Michelle Zhou sees it, Big Data gets a bad rap.

All too often, it’s portrayed as a means for huge companies to use personal data strictly for profit; the realm of ravenous marketing where individuals feel a complete loss of control over their personal information.

Zhou, senior manager for the User Systems and Experience Research (USER) group at IBM Research – Almaden in California, approaches Big Data from the polar opposite perspective. She sees a fundamental power shift underway, where individuals wield control of their own data and can use it to not only empower themselves, but to change the world.

“Big Data is not just about business and marketing,” Zhou said. “It’s increasingly about individuals using it strategically for their own benefit, to improve their lives.” Continue Reading »

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Andy Sanford-Clark, IBM Master Inventor

Andy Stanford-Clark, IBM Master Inventor

By Richard Silberman, Writer/Researcher, IBM Communications

Andy Stanford-Clark built his first sensor when he was six years old to alert his mom if it started raining after she had hung the wash out to dry. His “rain detector” involved nothing more than a few copper strips on a small board that attached to the clothesline and a little box in the house that beeped, alerting her to bring in the laundry.

Already at that young age, Stanford-Clark was able to recognize a problem and solve it with a simple solution. Today, 40 years later, he is still doing the same thing, but on a much grander scale. Continue Reading »

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Marie Kenerson, chief collaboration and learning officer, Colleagues In Care

Marie Kenerson, Chief Collaboration and Learning Officer, Colleagues In Care

By Richard Silberman, Writer/Researcher, IBM Communications

Out of the devastation of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, a new, cloud-based model for delivering quality, sustainable healthcare to destitute populations is rising.

Marie Kenerson, chief collaboration and learning officer at Colleagues In Care (CIC), is leading the drive to virtually connect healthcare professionals from around the globe to collaborate, share best medical practices and develop training programs for healthcare workers in Haiti. It’s a model that not only promises to transform healthcare delivery in Haiti, but it can be replicated anywhere in the world to help populations in need and enable true transformational social change. Continue Reading »

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Lisa Seacat DeLuca, Software Engineer, Advanced Cloud Solutions; IBM Master Inventor

Lisa Seacat DeLuca, Software Engineer, Advanced Cloud Solutions; IBM Master Inventor

By Chris Nay

FYpacW4XW
ZYVW4Vpac
FFpacD3TW
ZYVWMVT
FYTW4XC
YFpacW4XW
pacFpacV5TW

Notice a pattern in these codes? Don’t feel bad if you don’t. They’re from 1994’s “Pac Man 2: The New Adventures.” The kids playing the game in the mid-1990s knew that they unlocked hidden levels, but probably didn’t notice a pattern either. But 12 year old Lisa DeLuca did. To the point she could correctly predict, and enter the next code without playing the game.

“Figuring out these codes made me think: I want to be around this kind of thing [when I grow up],” Lisa said.

What that “thing” turned into almost 20 years later is programming and patenting at IBM. Today, Lisa is a two-time Master Inventor with more than 300 patents filed, working on next-gen cloud applications for IBM’s Advanced Cloud Solutions. Continue Reading »

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Jeffrey Nichols, IBM Research Staff Member

By Richard Silberman, Writer/Researcher, IBM Communications

Jeffrey Nichols is putting a new twist on Twitter that could change the way businesses use social media to identify, engage and market to customers.

“What we actually see from Twitter is just the tip of the information iceberg,” said Nichols, who manages the social media and crowd research team at IBM Research in Almaden, Calif. “Below every tweet there’s a lot more information that people have that they’re not sharing.”

Determined to extract hidden information from social media, Nichols is developing strategies to ask questions directly of targeted strangers over Twitter. The crux of Nichols work is to move from the ubiquitous reactive approach to social media, where marketers follow and respond to what people are saying, to a proactive model where they can reach out to individuals to collect specific information. Continue Reading »

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Uyi Stewart, Chief Scientist, IBM Research-Africa

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 »

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Dr. Lubomyr Romankiw, IBM Fellow in Electrochemical Technology, Micromagnetics and Microfabrication

By Richard Silberman, Writer/Researcher, IBM Communications

Without Lubomyr Romankiw, building a smarter planet would be much more difficult, if not impossible. Personal computers, smart phones, digital cameras and DVRs may have taken much longer to become a reality. ATMs, the Internet, Blue Gene and cloud computing might still be far off fantasies.

The world as we know and enjoy it today – with its ubiquitous computers and data-storing devices – is almost unimaginable without the magnetic thin-film disk storage technology and the read-and-write magnetic head that Dr. Romankiw and Dr. David A. Thompson invented at IBM 40 years ago.

The thin-film magnetic recording head is the tiny component that reads and writes data in virtually every disk-based storage device made since 1979. Before Dr. Romankiw’s inventions of thin-film heads and the processing technology to fabricate them, data storage for even the most cutting-edge computers was cumbersome, slow and expensive.

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Robert Waymouth, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry, Stanford University

By Richard Silberman, Writer/Researcher, IBM Communications

Robert Waymouth, Ph.D., maintains the sense of awe that he’s had since his earliest days as a chemist, savoring those “marvelous moments where it just takes your breath away, you can’t believe something worked like that.”

Waymouth, a professor of chemistry at Stanford University, had one such moment in 2004 when he and his grad students discovered a new way to make molecules using organic catalysts. That breakthrough, followed by years of research with colleague Jim Hedrick at IBM Research in Almaden, Calif., has yielded a process to make environmentally sustainable plastics that could lead to smarter recycling methods, a drastic reduction in plastics pollution and even a safer, more efficient way to administer drugs.
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