Why SmartCamp: spotlight on CareCloud

In 2010, IBM started SmartCamp, a global initiative for entrepreneurs and start ups that build solutions to make the planet smarter. Participants work with advisors, investors and business mentors from IBM to gain access to venture capital.

“Our mission is to revolutionize healthcare through better technology, so having the chance to engage with an industry leader like IBM was a great way to spread the word and meet with other innovative companies looking to build a smarter planet,” said Albert Santalo, president and CEO of CareCloud, the 2010 Silicon Valley SmartCamp co-winner.

CareCloud’s SmartCamp experience, with President and CEO Albert Santalo

What did CareCloud learn from participating?
“To be recognized by IBM, right in the heart of Silicon Valley, and to receive all the insights of the brilliant people attending, it was an incredible event. SmartCamp helped illuminate some of the key areas for us to focus on to successfully upend an industry resistant to change.”
Has CareCloud experienced an increase in general recognition and business since participating?
“Winning IBM's SmartCamp gave us access to the resources and connections of a global leader in the technology industry.

“It further validated our goal to change the face of healthcare through better technology, recognized us as an innovator in our industry and boosted awareness for our brand. Winning IBM’s Smart Camp was one of the best things that could happen to CareCloud.”

Where and how to participate

In each location, five companies will be selected to spend one day networking with 25 world-class entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts. Applications for the New York City SmartCamp are open until June 3. Apply here.

New York City – June 28, 29 (deadline: June 3)
Tel Aviv – September
Istanbul – October
London - November
China – November
Rio – November

Follow IBM SmartCamp on their blog and Twitter feed @IBMSmartCamp.


IBM Honors the 25th Anniversary of High Temperature Superconductivity

Twenty-five years ago IBM scientists, J. Georg Bednorz and K. Alex Muller altered the landscape of physics when they observed superconductivity in an oxide material at a temperature 50 percent higher, (-238 deg C, -397 deg F) than what was previously known. This discovery opened an entirely new chapter in the field of physics and earned them the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1987.


Traffic: Global data problem?

Even with advances in GPS navigation, real-time traffic alerts and mapping, daily commute times are often unreliable, and relevant updates on how to avoid congestion often reach commuters when they are already stuck in traffic and it is too late to change course.

In recent years, IBM researchers have begun to think of traffic as a global data problem.

According to the IBM Global Pain Commuter study conducted last year, the daily commute in some of the world's most economically important international cities is longer and more grueling than before imagined.

But what if you were able to get an email or text message with personalized information on what the traffic patterns of your typical commute look like before your trip even began?

This is a question IBM is answering as part of a new collaboration with the California Department of Transportation and UC Berkeley. Together, they are developing a solution that uses predictive analytics to help commuters avoid traffic congestion and enable transportation agencies to better understand, predict and manage traffic flow. While initially being tested in the United States, IBM is actively working in cities around the world in the area of Smarter Transportation, using a worldwide team of scientists, industry experts and IT services professionals to research, test and deploy new traffic information management capabilities.

Learn more about this project and hear from the lead researcher on this project here.


Video: Discovering excimer laser surgery

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics interviews IBM Researcher James Wynne about "the discovery of surgical applications of the excimer laser."


Open architecture helps Watson understand natural language

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by IBM Senior Technical Staff Member and Apache UIMA Project Management Committee Chairman Marshall Schor. Meet Mr. Schor and Watson at the 2011 Impact Conference, April 10-14.

Natural language is messy. Slang, puns and the context of when and where something is spoken influences meaning. Watson tackled the problem of understanding the natural language of Jeopardy! with a mess of algorithms – managed by an open source architecture.

The open source Unstructured Information Management Architecture (Apache UIMA™) that IBM Research donated to the Apache Foundation in 2006 is what makes Watson’s hundreds of independent algorithms – written in different languages – work together. Watson combines legacy code written in C and C++, developed before Java became popular, with pattern matching algorithms written using Prolog. The majority of the algorithms are coded in Java because it is currently the most popular, general purpose, high performance object oriented language in use today.

IBM Researchers came up with UIMA about a decade ago to connect colleagues who worked on language processing and unstructured information analytics. UIMA (an OASIS standard) wrapped the independent algorithms in a common architecture so they could work together. When UIMA-AS was added to take advantage of multi-core machines and networks of machines, it was a natural fit for Watson.

Watson runs on POWER7 because of its suitability to highly parallelized applications and its high bandwidth between its memory and the 32 cores of each node. UIMA scales out its components across thousands of these cores so Watson can answer a single Jeopardy! clue in about three seconds.

Algorithms at work: Watson learning across categories

Where else is Watson’s software?

UIMA is embedded in several IBM products, including IBM InfoSphere Warehouse, which performs text analytics for both structured and unstructured content. InfoSphere BigInsights has been used to run UIMA analytics within Apache's Hadoop framework for scalable, distributed computing, to analyze and process a broad set of information including unstructured content.


Semiconductor expertise for nanomedicine breakthrough

For decades, IBM has been known for its leadership in semiconductors, winning the National Medal of Technology in 2005. This award specifically acknowledged over 40 years of IBM semiconductor leadership across a broad spectrum of technologies, including DRAM, copper, Silicon on Insulator, and Silicon Germanium. These innovations — and the Research leaders that have made them possible — have laid the foundation for IBM's continued success in decades to come.

In recent years, IBM researchers are expanding upon lessons learned in intellectual property in semiconductors, and paving the way for IBM to move into entirely new business areas: developing types of plastic that are more friendly for recycling, membranes for water desalination and reading human DNA more easily and quickly (DNA sequencing), just to name a few.

Fundamental principles of nanotechnology like these are allowing IBM to move into entirely new markets and to partner in brand new ways.

Today, Nature Chemistry published a paper by IBM scientists that essentially describes the application of nanotechnology expertise to healthcare, specifically the treatment of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and infectious diseases like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA.

So how exactly can things like magnetism and electrical conductivity be applied to things like medicine and treating infectious disease?

There are two main issues with conventional antibiotics today – one is that they indiscriminately affect all cells – they have no way to tell which ones are infected and which ones are not. Many times it takes multiple cycles of prescribed antibiotics to kill the bacteria.

The second problem is that they do not penetrate cells – so the antibiotics surround infected cells while damaging nearby healthy cells, ultimately allowing bacteria to get stronger and become immune to the antibiotics. Further, the remaining antibiotics typically stay in the body and accumulate in the organs, causing damaging side effects.

Researchers at IBM have designed special nanostructures that have been proven to tackle these two problems. Once in contact with water, the polymers in these agents self-assemble into new structures that are basically magnetically attracted to bacteria membranes based on their electrostatic interaction. Once they ‘find’ the bacterial-infected cells, they break the membrane walls and destroy the bacteria from within the cell. Since there is no physical attraction to the healthy cells, those remain untouched; they can still transport oxygen throughout the body and combat bacteria on their own. Finally, the nanostructures are biodegradable – once they’ve done their job, they leave the body.

MRSA is just one type of dangerous bacteria commonly found on the skin and contracted in places like gyms, schools and hospitals. In 2005, MRSA was responsible for 95,000 serious infections and associated with almost 19,000 hospital stay–related deaths in the United States. Bacteria like MRSA require high doses of antibiotics, which ultimately end up destroying healthy red blood cells in addition to contaminated ones – and even the bad ones end up largely undamaged. For a disease that kills 20% of people that contract it, a better solution needed to be explored.

The ability to explore these uncovered areas is supported by IBM’s long-term vision and investment in research. As science takes us down to the most fundamental structures of life, techniques like these are becoming useful and necessary tools on the path to create better diagnostics and treatments for patients. We’ve already successfully applied principles like these to healthcare initiatives such as 3-D MRI and a one step point-of-care diagnostic test called Lab on a Chip.

For the near-term, these specific agents are intended to be utilized in treating skin infections through the use of deodorants, soaps, hand sanitizers and the like; IBM scientists are looking at developing treatments for things like tuberculosis, lung infections and healing wounds.