Turbo Todd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

…More On The IBM Watson Discovery Advisor

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The Wall Street Journal posted a story yesterday that speaks to the significant advancements the IBM Watson technology has been making in the medical and academic research fields:

The company on Thursday is announcing advances in the technology and the availability of what it calls IBM’s Watson Discovery Advisor, a cloud service that it says can help research teams analyze vast troves of data to come up with new research ideas.

IBM is also pointing to a peer-reviewed case study to back up its claims. It describes how a tool based on Watson–developed at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston–was able to sort through about 70,000 scientific papers for relevant data about a particular protein and generate hypotheses that could be tested by scientists.

The story went on to highlight some specific case studies involving the research that has been conducted around a protein related to many cancers, p53:

In the study, biologists and data scientists using the technology were able to identify proteins that modify p53, a protein related to many cancers. But the broader point was to show the potential of letting computers analyze data and make useful suggestions about it, amid a flood of research being generated by companies and other institutions.

Yet as the story concludes, Watson’s work is far from done:

the company sees applications beyond the health realm, including making automated suggestions based on financial, legal, energy and intelligence-related information, IBM said.


Written by TurboTodd

August 29th, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Rise Of The Pizza Drones

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Well, we’re almost to the Labor Day holiday here in the U.S. — folks are gassing up their cars and getting the hot dogs ready.

But it seems as though there’s so much going on in the technology arena that it can hardly pause, even for a long holiday weekend.

Our friends at Apple have sent out invites for an event on “9.9.2014,” and rumors are abounding at what might get announced: New and bigger iPhones, a wearable wrist watch (iWatch), some new mobile payment software.

Wired suggested “Apple is in the perfect position to launch its own mobile wallet,” with over 800 million credit cards already in its files, and millions of iOS devices out there just waiting to get paid…err, waiting to pay.

Then there’s Google’s testing of delivery drones, with a recent test including a candy, dog treat, cattle vaccine et al drop out in the Australian outback. And apparently last year, Domino’s pizza was testing pizza delivery by drone.

Once upon a time, way back in the day, I delivered Domino’s Pizza to help pay my way through college. But there were no drones to be found anywhere. I delivered pizzas while driving an old Volkswagen bus. There was no GPS, no voiceover delivery of directions turn by turn. Just good ol’ fashioned navigating.

If this is our new reality, we’re going to need to start thinking about some new etiquette that will likely be required for delivery drones.

Like, for instance, do you tip the drone when it drops off your pizza? If so, how much?

What happens if the drone doesn’t make the delivery within Domino’s 30 minute guarantee? Does the drone know to give you a free pizza? Do you call back to the Domino’s location?

Worse, what happens if the drone delivers the pizza and it’s cold? Maybe it can bring along a portable pizza reheater?

And what if the drone does a stellar job — is it okay to invite it in for a quick beer?

Lots to ponder. Of course, so is Labor Day. This has always been a holiday that celebrated the American labor movement, and the achievements of workers. But the way things are going, pretty soon, drones and autonomic cars and robots will be doing pretty much everything we humans used to do, in which case we’re going to need a new holiday: Drone Day.

It’s likely to be one helluva parade.

Written by TurboTodd

August 29th, 2014 at 3:20 pm

IBM Provides A Roadmap On Enterprise Mobility

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IBM has issued a new report which provides guidance for businesses on how to unlock the potential of enterprise mobility by empowering employees with the tools they need to make decisions, collaborate, transact and innovate in entirely new ways.

The report, titled “The Individual Enterprise — How Mobility Redefines Business,” developed by the IBM Institute for Business Value — emphasizes how the power of analytics-driven mobile strategies can redefine business and how work gets done.

Eighty-four percent of CIOs rate mobile solutions as a critical investment to get closer to customers and 94 percent of CMOs ranked mobile apps as crucial to their digital marketing plans.

While the C-suite is considering mobile applications that are customer facing, the greater opportunity exists in the enterprise to impact the way people work, collaborate and innovate.

A successful mobile initiative will allow employees to access relevant information and insights when and where needed, as well as the ability to address a critical industry pain point or create fundamental new value; weigh outcomes using analytics and data streams; and focus on leading edge features of innovative mobile devices.

According to the research, evolving to a mobile enterprise requires a solid foundation with fundamental components including:

  • Security: Employ centralized device management and security to overcome the fragmented device platforms resulting from existing “bring your own device” (BYOD) programs.
  • Connectivity: Minimize platform complexities introduced with ‘always-on’ mobile networks in conjunction with flexible architectures that can easily incorporate changing components.
  • Resiliency: Design for possible failures with adequate disaster recovery and contingency plans, and align policies to business values and needs.
  • Orchestration: Adopt interchangeable solutions to create efficiencies and enable both organizations and individuals to quickly combine and recombine different applications and data streams based on actual circumstances.
  • Insights and Learning: Embrace intelligence produced from analytics to grow more responsive and learn on the fly, ultimately enabling predicative and prescriptive recommendations that further inform decision making.

Once the foundation for enterprise mobility has been laid, the report outlines five steps to progress the strategy including the development of “journey maps” that depict employee/user interactions. These steps are live experiments that can be improved and expanded upon based on employee experiences.

Go here for more information on IBM MobileFirst, and here for more information on the study and the IBM Institute for Business Value.

Todd "Turbo" Watson
Twitter:@turbotodd
Blog: www.turbotodd.com
Email: toddhttp://about.me/toddwatson

Written by TurboTodd

August 29th, 2014 at 2:23 pm

IBM Watson Making New Connections Via Data-Driven Discoveries

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Click to enlarge.

IBM announced today significant advances in Watson’s cognitive computing capabilities that are enabling researchers to accelerate the pace of scientific breakthroughs by discovering previously unknown connections in big data.

Available now as a cloud service, IBM’s Watson Discovery Advisor is designed to scale and accelerate discoveries by research teams. It reduces the time needed to test hypotheses and formulate conclusions that can advance their work — from months to days and days to just hours — bringing new levels of speed and precision to research and development.

Building on Watson’s ability to understand nuances in natural language, Watson Discovery Advisor can understand the language of science, such as how chemical compounds interact, making it a uniquely powerful tool for researchers in life sciences and other industries.

Researchers and scientists from leading academic, pharmaceutical and other commercial research centers have begun deploying IBM’s new Watson Discovery Advisor to rapidly analyze and test hypotheses using data in millions of scientific papers available in public databases.

A new scientific research paper is published nearly every 30 seconds, which equals more than a million annually. According to the National Institutes of Health, a typical researcher reads about 23 scientific papers per month, which translates to nearly 300 per year, making it humanly impossible to keep up with the ever-growing body of scientific material available.

In 2013, the top 1,000 research and development companies spent more than $600 billion annually on research alone. Progress can be slow, taking an average of 10 to 15 years for a promising pharmaceutical treatment to progress from the initial research stage into practice.

Using Watson Discovery Advisor, researchers can uncover new relationships and recognize unexpected patterns among data that have the potential to significantly improve and accelerate the discovery process in research and science.

Leading life sciences organizations are deploying Watson Discovery Advisor to advance discoveries in ongoing research projects, including Baylor College of Medicine, Johnson & Johnson and The New York Genome Center.

In a retrospective, peer reviewed study released this week by Baylor College of Medicine and IBM, scientists demonstrated a possible new path for generating scientific questions that may be helpful in the long term development of new, effective treatments for disease.

In a matter of weeks, biologists and data scientists using the Baylor Knowledge Integration Toolkit (KnIT), based on Watson technology, accurately identified proteins that modify p53, an important protein related to many cancers, which can eventually lead to better efficacy of drugs and other treatments.

A feat that would have taken researchers years to accomplish without Watson’s cognitive capabilities, Watson analyzed 70,000 scientific articles on p53 to predict proteins that turn on or off p53′s activity. This automated analysis led the Baylor cancer researchers to identify six potential proteins to target for new research. These results are notable, considering that over the last 30 years, scientists averaged one similar target protein discovery per year.

“On average, a scientist might read between one and five research papers on a good day,” said Dr. Olivier Lichtarge, the principal investigator and professor of molecular and human genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology at Baylor College of Medicine. “To put this in perspective with p53, there are over 70,000 papers published on this protein. Even if I’m reading five papers a day, it could take me nearly 38 years to completely understand all of the research already available today on this protein. Watson has demonstrated the potential to accelerate the rate and the quality of breakthrough discoveries.”

Johnson & Johnson is collaborating with the IBM Watson Discovery Advisor team to teach Watson to read and understand scientific papers that detail clinical trial outcomes used to develop and evaluate medications and other treatments.

This collaboration hopes to accelerate comparative effectiveness studies of drugs, which help doctors match a drug with the right set of patients to maximize effectiveness and minimize side effects. Typically, comparative effectiveness studies are done manually, requiring three people to spend an average of 10 months (2.5 man-years) just to collect the data and prepare them for use before they are able to start analyzing, generating and validating a hypothesis.

In this research study, the team hopes to teach Watson to quickly synthesize the information directly from the medical literature, allowing researchers to start asking questions about the data immediately to determine the effectiveness of a treatment compared to other medications, as well as its side effects.

Sanofi is exploring how working with Watson can speed up the discovery of alternate indications for existing drugs (drug re-purposing). Watson is able to understand and extract key information by reading millions of pages of scientific literature and then visualizes relationships between drugs and other potential diseases they could target while providing supporting evidence each step of the way.

And IBM Watson will be supporting the analysis in New York Genome Center’s clinical study to advance genomic medicine. The clinical study will initially focus on clinical application of genomics to help oncologists deliver DNA-based treatment for glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer that kills more than 13,000 Americans each year.

Despite tremendous discoveries into the genetic drivers of diseases like cancer over the past decade, big data makes it difficult to translate DNA data into life-saving treatments. Based on results from the clinical study, IBM Watson could soon help scale up the availability of personalized treatment options.

Industry Implications

Discovering something new is applicable to many domains such as medicine, law, finance, etc., that all require deep insight into a large body of information and protocols. Cognitive computing will allow human experts to interact with large bodies of data and research and the knowledge and insight of many other experts in their field.

IBM Watson Discovery Advisor has the potential to transform industries and professions that rely heavily on data, including law, pharmaceuticals, biotech, education, chemicals, metals, scientific research, engineering, and criminal investigations.

Three years after its victory on the TV quiz show Jeopardy!, IBM Watson has evolved to represent a new era of computing, earning recognition from Frost & Sullivan, which presented IBM Watson with the 2013 North America Award for New Product Innovation, and Gartner Inc., which cites IBM Watson in its Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014 and predicts that by 2017, 10 percent of computers will be able to learn as Watson does.

You can learn more about the IBM Watson Discovery Advisor here and follow announcements on Twitter @IBMWatson. Developers interested in hearing from their peers working with IBM Watson can check out the IBM Watson Developers forum here.

IBM, Monitise Form Global Alliance, Boost Mobile Payments

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IBM and Monitise today announced a global digital commerce and resourcing alliance.

Building on Monitise’s IBM Global Alliance announcement in July that included the IBM MobileFirst portfolio of offerings. Monitise’s technology will be enabled, hosted and sold as an IBM cloud-delivered solution worldwide in the business-to-business space.

Monitise is a global leader in Mobile Money — banking, paying and buying with a mobile device. Leading banks, payments companies, retailers and mobile networks utilize Monitise’s technology platforms and services to securely connect people with their money.

Thirty million consumers have registered for Monitise’s patented technology to "bank anywhere," "pay anyone" and "buy anything," accounting for $88 billion of payments, purchases and transfers annually. Additionally, apps designed by the Group’s Monitise Create and MEA divisions have been downloaded 30 million times.

Combining the best of both companies’ mobile banking, payments and commerce technology, this alliance brings IBM sales and specialist resources to clients around the world with the full spectrum of advice, solution design and delivery of Monitise’s Mobile Money services.

As part of the collaboration, IBM’s global go-to-market investment of dedicated resources and promotional initiatives, globally and in region, will pair with Monitise staff to pursue Mobile Money opportunities.

While commercial opportunities initially will be targeted at financial institutions, the companies will also address the needs of mobile network operators, retailers and any vertical requiring simple API connectivity to bank-grade, interoperable and scalable mobile payment and commerce functionality and content.

As part of today’s agreement, teams from Monitise’s UK development and integration business known as Professional Services — including a number of contractors — will be transferred into IBM; IBM will in turn deliver services back to Monitise.

With IBM’s MobileFirst strategy, IBM’s 5,000 mobile experts have been at the forefront of mobile enterprise innovation and IBM has secured more than 4,300 patents in mobile, social and security.

Through IBM’s partnership with Apple, the two organizations are transforming enterprise mobility with a new class of industry specific business apps. You can learn more on the IBM MobileFirst site or follow @IBMMobile on Twitter.

Written by TurboTodd

August 27th, 2014 at 2:57 pm

SoftLayer Introduces New Hourly Bare Metal Servers, Expands Australian Footprint

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IBM’s cloud capabilities grew earlier today with the announcement that SoftLayer plans to launch is first Australian data center in Melbourne this September.

It will be the latest of 15 new data centers that IBM plans to open as part of a $1.2 billion dollar global investment to strengthen and extend its cloud services in Asia Pacific and around the world.

The new onshore SoftLayer data center will meet Australian organizations’ demands for secure, in-country enterprise-grade IBM cloud services that can deliver hybrid, private and public cloud environments.

The Melbourne data center offers the full portfolio of SoftLayer’s cloud services to include bare metal and virtual servers, storage, and networking, all in one integrated platform.

The onshore facility provides Australian customers with local residency for their data that is secure, resilient and can be easily integrated with existing infrastructure to provide a robust hybrid environment. A second Australian SoftLayer data center is planned to open later this year.

SoftLayer also made another notable announcement today: The immediate availability of new bare metal servers that are deployed in under 30 minutes and billed by the hour.

Hourly bare metal servers provide the raw performance of physical servers with shorter commitments, making it easier than ever to deploy computing-intensive workloads on SoftLayer at will.

The servers can stand alone or completely integrate with all other SoftLayer bare metal, virtual, storage, and networking services, all in one seamless global platform.

The new hourly bare metal servers are single tenant servers connecting directly to SoftLayer’s private global network. The SoftLayer global private network allows for seamless integration between data centers without additional networking fees, unlimited inter-data center bandwidth, and exceptional performance and security.

Customers may choose from four base configurations with CentOS, Red Hat, FreeBSD, or Ubuntu operating system installed. The base configuration is deployed within 30 minutes, after which the server may be further customized with additional OS or application installations.

Additional base configurations for hourly bare metal servers will be available in the coming months.

The new hourly bare metal configurations are available immediately at SoftLayer’s global data centers in Dallas, San Jose, Washington D.C., London, Toronto, Amsterdam, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

Written by TurboTodd

August 26th, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Former IBM CEO John Akers Dies

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Former IBM CEO John Akers died this past Friday in Boston at the age of 79.

John F. Akers was the iconic IBMer of his era. He joined IBM in 1960 after serving in the Navy as a jet pilot, and quickly took to the company’s distinct culture.

“We were very square,” he recounted in a 2010 interview. “We wore the blue suits, white shirts with button-down collars, striped ties, fedoras and wingtip shoes.” That image came to stand for something: “The customers felt they could count on us.”

Samuel J. Palmisano, who had earlier in his career served as Akers’ executive assistant and who later became IBM’s 8th CEO, describes Akers as the ultimate company man — loyal to the company he loved.

“People liked John Akers, because they knew he cared about them — as employees, as people, and as IBMers," Palmisano said. “John was so committed to the institution and its culture."
Akers was one of the builders of the modern IBM. After getting a business degree from Yale University and serving as a carrier pilot in the U.S. Navy from 1956 to 1960, he began his IBM career as a sales trainee.

For his first three years as a salesman, his territory was Vermont — where his first major sale was to a dairy association. A major break came a few years later, in 1971, when he was assigned to corporate headquarters to be the executive assistant to Frank Cary, who was then a senior vice president and who ultimately became the company’s CEO.

Akers recalled later that working for Cary was the equivalent of getting an MBA, and he said he learned so much that was useful to him for the rest of his career.

This was the era when IBM was emerging as the most successful company in the nascent computer industry. The System/360 computer family, which was released in 1964, revolutionized the industry by offering clients a series of computers suited for different size businesses that ran the same software.

As a sales person and later as an executive, Akers helped make System/360 and its successor, System/370, huge successes.

A top performer, he received 16 promotions in a span of 23 years. He was named president of the Data Processing Division, then IBM’s largest domestic marketing unit, in 1974 at age 39.

He became president of the entire company in 1982 and chief executive in 1985. After an eight-year tenure as CEO, he retired from IBM in 1993.

People who worked for Akers call him a thoughtful leader who made sure people knew what was expected of them and helped them meet the goals he set. Retired IBM executive Nicholas M. Donofrio recalls the time in 1988 when Akers sent him to Austin, Texas, to complete the development of long-overdue Unix workstations and servers, which were based on a new microprocessor architecture.

Three months later, Donofrio reported back to Akers that it would take another nine months to deliver the products. “He had every reason to fire me,” recounts Donofrio. “Instead, he asked what additional resources I needed and agreed to meet with me monthly to insure we made the new schedule. He did, I did, and we did.” Ultimately the new product line, called the RS6000, became an important part of IBM’s product portfolio.

Written by TurboTodd

August 25th, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Posted in ceo,ibm,obituaries

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IBM Taps Innovation Centers To Fuel Linux On Power Systems

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For you penguin fans out there, IBM announced today at LinuxCon North America it is tapping into its global network of over 50 IBM Innovation Centers and IBM Client Centers to help IBM Business Partners, IT professionals, academics, and entrepreneurs develop and deliver new Big Data and cloud software applications for clients using Linux on IBM Power Systems servers.

Last year IBM committed $1 billion in new Linux and open source technologies for its Power Systems servers including the opening of five new Power Systems Linux Centers in Beijing, China, New York, New York, Austin, Texas, Montpelier, France and Tokyo, Japan.

Today over 1500 ISV applications are available for Linux on Power, fueled in part by work performed at these centers.

The expansion – a more than 10x increase in global reach – provides in-person and online access to Linux on Power Systems application development resources to potentially thousands of additional IBM Business Partners, developers, and clients worldwide in key arenas including Brazil, Russia, India, Vietnam, Australia, United Kingdom and Germany. Resources vary by location and can include:

  • In-person and online Linux training workshops that show developers how to easily migrate and optimize their applications using Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and Canonical Ubuntu Server Linux technologies on Power Systems.
  • Hands-on assistance from dedicated Linux and IBM systems specialists to show developers how to take advantage of IBM’s unique POWER8 parallel processing and advanced virtualization capabilities.
  • Access to IBM’s business consulting specialists and Business Partner resources to develop joint go to market strategies for Power System and Linux based solutions.

You can learn more about Linux on IBM Power Systems here.

Written by TurboTodd

August 22nd, 2014 at 6:08 pm

China Telecom, IBM Team On Cloud Computing For The Chinese Market

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IBM and China Telecom Corporation Limited have announced a three-year agreement to help small and medium businesses (SMBs) implement secure, cost-effective and scalable SAP cloud-based applications.

As a leading Chinese telecommunication company and the largest infrastructure network operator in China, China Telecom will manage clients’ infrastructure that includes cloud platform resources, networking and mobile devices.

IBM will integrate the software, hardware and end-to-end service capabilities to create a complete environment in that supports SAP applications on the cloud.

Additionally, the cloud-based SAP applications will better enable China Telecom SMB customers that have or are planning to implement SAP applications, to reduce operating and application management costs with enterprise-ready applications.

By taking advantage of cloud computing technology, businesses will be able to accelerate implementation, providing scalability and elasticity to meet their individual needs.

Under the agreement, China Telecom and IBM will first focus on clients in the Guangdong province and then extend the project to such key areas as Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta, Beijing and Tianjin.

China Telecom has the largest fixed phone network and CDMA mobile phone network in the world, and is the largest ICT service provider in China to offer various integrated ICT information service for its subsidiaries in 31 provinces, including the telephone service, Internet access and application, data communication and mobile communication.

China Telecom has a complete ICT service system and professional application service team, and takes the first step in providing integrated SAP public cloud and private cloud solutions innovatively in China.

China Telecom is also the largest IDC/cloud computing service provider in China, and has built “4+2” cloud resource network with Inner Mongolia and Guizhou as the center and with Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu as the backbone nodes.

You can learn more about IBM’s cloud solutions at http://www.ibm.com/cloud, or follow on Twitter at @IBMcloud.

Written by TurboTodd

August 22nd, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Chief Marketers Seeing Increased Confidence

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As seen in today’s “Bulldog Reporter Daily”:

“Chief Marketer Confidence at an All-Time High, CMO Council Reports: 81% of Surveyed Global Marketing Leaders Surveyed Believe They Can Drive Top-Line Growth and Improve Market Share in 2014″

According to the CMO Council Study, the global marketing economy “is robust and picking up pace.” And 81 percent of chief marketers have confidence they can meet management’s revenue and market share goals for the coming year, cites the Bulldog.

  • Some 55 percent plan headcount additions compared to 22 percent who expect reductions.
  • Fifty-four (54) percent of marketers expect budget increases, and 27 percent believe their budgets will stay the same.
  • Just 10 percent of marketing leaders polled believe their jobs are at risk or on the line this year.
  • Seventy-five (75) percent of senior marketers received a salary increase or bonus in the past year, and 83 percent believe this will happen in the next fiscal year if they perform well.
  • Sixty-nine (69) percent say they are trusted strategic members of the C-suite and/or increasing their stature and credibility with key business leaders.

For those chief marketers (and marketing staffers) looking for a little technology help in their marketing operations, check out the IBM Smarter Commerce site.

Written by TurboTodd

August 21st, 2014 at 8:49 pm

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