IBM Researchers in Action (Week of November 24th)

Researcher Joel Branch

How can we solve transaction problems?
IBM computer scientist Joel Branch talks about the work he and his colleagues are doing to help companies troubleshoot process glitches.

Prof. Josef Raviv

IBM announces Raviv fellowship winners
Mihai Patrascu and Vinod Vaikuntanathan from MIT outpaced 100 other applicants.


Making the “global brain” a reality

IBM receives $4.9 million grant to further cognitive computing research

"There is no scientific study more vital to man than the study of his own brain. Our entire view of the universe depends on it."

Francis H. C. Crick, September 1978

An increasingly instrumented, interconnected planet demands an ultra-smart computing platform that can deal with the tsunami of data produced by a plethora of sensors – much like the way the human brain integrates sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell to process information.

And a recent $4.9 million US grant by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) may help IBM Research and its partners make cognitive computing a reality. [Read Dharmendra Modha's Cognitive Computing blog]

Dealing with a data explosion

The digital data explosion shows no signs of slowing down -- according to analyst firm IDC, the amount of digital data is growing at a mind-boggling 60 percent each year, giving businesses access to incredible new streams of information. But without the ability to monitor, analyze and react to this information in real-time, the majority of its value may be lost. Until the data is captured and analyzed, decisions or actions may be delayed.

Imagine the business of monitoring the world’s water supply. Billions of sensors and actuators are now at work in our oceans, recording parameters such as temperature, pressure, conductivity, wave height, acoustics, ocean tide and turbidity. All of these metrics are reported in real- or near-real time, creating a stream of continually changing raw data that flows at an ever-dizzying rate. But making sense of all that input would be a Herculean task for one person…or even for 100. A cognitive computer, acting as a “global brain,” could quickly and accurately put together the disparate pieces of this complex puzzle and come to a logical response.

IBM Research’s role

By reverse-engineering the brain, IBM’s cognitive computing research team aims to create a universal computing platform based on the high-level computational principles of the brain. Ultimately, the team hopes to rival the brain’s low power consumption and small size by using nanoscale devices for synapses and neurons.

Recently, the cognitive computing team, led by Dr. Dharmendra Modha, demonstrated the near-real-time simulation of a small mammal brain using cognitive computing algorithms with the supercomputing power of IBM’s BlueGene. With this simulation capability, the researchers are experimenting with various mathematical hypotheses of brain function and structure as they work toward discovering the brain’s core computational microcircuits.


IBM Researchers in Action (Week of November 17th)

Researcher Daniel Platt

Biological Research: Gene study shows the Phoenicians still with us.
The seafaring Phoenicians left the world more than a legacy of alphabets and purple dye -- they left their DNA scattered throughout Mediterranean men... (Reuters.com; pictured: Researcher Daniel Platt).

Researcher Grady Booch

Software: IEEE hosts "On Architecture" podcast.
IBM Fellow and co-author of UML Grady Booch has bundled his IEEE columns into a podcast called On Architecture. (pictured: Researcher Grady Booch).


IBM Researchers in Action (Week of November 3)

IBM Researchers in Action (Week of November 3)

  1. Researcher Marion Ball

    Recognition: Marion Ball selected as 2008 AAN Honorary Fellow
    The American Academy of Nursing inducts Marion Ball at its 35th Annual Meeting and Conference in November. (pictured: Researcher Marion Ball)

  1. Researcher Peter Buhler

    Security: IBM Research unveils "Security-on-a-Stick" to protect consumers and banks from the most sophisticated hacker attacks
    Specialized USB stick adds an extra level of security and protects online banking transactions despite attacks on personal computers (pictured: Researcher Peter Buhler)

  1. Researcher Oded Margalit

    Games: IBM Research's "Ponder This" puzzle reaches milestone, inspires research paper 
    Our Ponder-this corner reached its 127th month, which is the maximal number that fits into signed byte. To celebrate this.. (pictured: Researcher Oded Margalit)