Tag Archives: IBM

Watson Is More Than Just Jeopardy!

Watson is the latest innovation at IBM. A master of natural language processing, it is the ultimate desire of a computer system: to clearly understand a human spoken language. This sounds like an easy task as it comes naturally to us humans, though computers have never been this good with natural language until now.

Watson recorded a breakthrough in computing by winning Jeopardy. So, did IBM create the Watson system just to win Jeopardy? Definitely not. Watson has been seen as a possible means of doing complex calculations involving natural language. This ability to process unstructured data and to comprehend natural language makes Watson the Skynet we saw in Terminator movies.

Watson is befriending various universities and a communication company Nuance is channeling Watson’s resources to the healthcare industry. In short, Watson has big plans to help the world. The first commercial offering is expected in the next two years. This sudden wake towards computing power and the results shown by Watson has finally proven that the way information is shared and accessed will change, not only for us, but also for computer systems. In short, we can expect much better and superior automated stock predictions, sentiment analysis for product sales and future predictions based on proper analysis of mathematical data as well as textual data.

Learn more about Watson at this page from IBM. For some better insight into Watson, see this Q&A at Reddit.

Watson Supercomputer Pwns Humans in Jeopardy!

It’s all over now. The massive   IBM computer, named Watson, has destroyed its two human opponents in the last round of this epic 3 day Jeopardy! battle.


This adds more weight to the belief that computers will soon be running the world, and humans will be obsolete. Watson is made up of 100 IBM Power 750 server units and 15 terabytes of onboard ram.


Here’s what a IBM blogger said about the final moments of the game.

The contest between man and machine on Jeopardy! was decided when IBM’s Watson computer landed on the second Daily Double on day three.   The clue was: This two-word phrase means the power to take private property for public use as long as there is just compensation.Watson’s response: What is eminent domain?

The answer eminent domain, is now also the status of Watson’s tally versus his merely human opponents. Watson scored $77,147, compared to $24,000 for Ken Jennings and $21,600 for Brad Rutter. Jennings admitted defeat as he wrote the following under his final answer:

I for one welcome our new computer overlords.

Here’s a video from day 2 of the show.

So what’s next for computers? They already beat us at chess and Jeopardy. Will a computer win the Indy 500 next? It’s possible, since Google has already developed cars that drive themselves.

I’m guessing that the only way to beat these smart machines is to join them. Are you ready to become Human 2.0 ?

Watson Supercomputer Ties in First Jeopardy Game Against Humans

IBM_Watson_AvatarValentine’s Day wasn’t all hearts and flowers, as a massive IBM computer faced off against two human opponents on the popular Jeopardy! TV game. IBM has been working on a computer that not only understands human language, but can answer riddles based on it’s ability to search a huge database and determine the most likely answer.

The computer is called Watsonand is made up of 100 IBM Power 750 server units and 15 terabytes of onboard ram. Here’s what IBM said about Watson, just before the first game:

After seven years of research and planning, thousands of hours of testing and over fifty champion-level sparring matches, Watson is finally ready to face the two greatest Jeopardy!champions in history – Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

This contest is scheduled to run three days, and after the first day, Watson has won $5000, is tied for first place with Brad Rutter, with Ken Jennings in third place, with $2000. At the end of the show, it was obvious that Watson was bright and fast, but he has a few flaws that kept him from running away with a big win.

Here’s a video of the first show. It may not be online long, because it was put up by someone without permission from Jeopardy.

There’s no doubt now, that computers are getting smarter. Many people believe that by 2045, computers will be running the world, and humans will be obsolete. Due to recent discoveries in electronics, I’d be tempted to put the date at 2040. Move aside Big Brother, it’s only a matter of time before Skynet wakes up.

2010: The Year Of Acquisitions For Google, Oracle and IBM

The year 2010 has seen a rapid change in the way people approach and use their computers, technology the Internet. Social networks had a growth boost and controversial political events framed the future of many companies in certain geographical regions of the world. However, 2010 has sure been an extremely successful time for acquisitions. Almost every tech-giant out there was on an acquisition spree. While some made the acquisitions for obvious reasons like controlling IP and killing competition, others made it to make use of the acquisitions as resources for development.


As you can see in this graph, the acquisition spree rose twice, once around April and another time around August. The August rise is completely dominated by Google, which took six companies. IBM has also maintained a consistent acquisition drive throughout the year.


The most notable acquisition spree was that of Google. It acquired a total of 25 companies in this term of 11 months. IBM lagged behind as the second one with 14 companies added under its banner.

Oracle had just acquired Sun Microsystems and started abusing its IP against the Google Android (Dalvik) implementation of Java VM technologies. The acquisition of Sun Microsystems brought a huge payload of IP for Oracle to abuse. HP acquired Palm and saved it from dying a sad death. Microsoft was busy with its latest Kinect toy and acquired Canesta, Inc. that deals in 3D sensing. AOL acquired TechCrunch and others players like Cisco were in the acquisition game too.

Counting by numbers, this puts roughly 70 acquisitions by companies that rather form the top notch of the tech industry. Just last year, this number was at 33, which is even less than 50% of what is happening this year. Surprisingly, the figure stood at around 55 in 2008 with IBM and Microsoft making 14 and 16 acquisitions each.

This shows that the void created during the recession has started an overdrive and the next year should be quite good for the IT industry.

(Stats via Wikipedia)

IBM Claims another Computing Breakthrough, Now Measuring How Long a Single Atom Holds a Bit of Information

IBM has claimed yet another breakthrough in computing and data storage with the ability to record the behavior of atoms on a scale of nanoseconds. This will let them study changes in the behavior of atoms to data storage accurately. The press release claiming this say,

SAN JOSE, Calif., September 24, 2010 Today IBM (NYSE:  IBM) researchers published a breakthrough technique in the peer-reviewed journal  Science that measures how long a single atom can hold information, and giving scientists the ability to record, study and “visualize” extremely fast phenomena inside these atoms.

Just a few days ago, IBM claimed a speed improvement by replacing copper wires. This development follows the last one in less than a month and combined, these two can take computing to a new level.

The video of the first speed measurement capture is available on YouTube.

The complete press release can be read here.

IBM Claims Breakthrough in Computing that can make Things 100 times Faster

No matter how much of computing power we pack into our hardware, one fact still remains. They are powered by age-old connections, the ones that had powered US Telegraph lines around a hundred and fifty years ago. Yes, I am talking about those copper wires. A nuisance as they should have become by now, IBM has finally realized the fact and come up with a better solution using an optical bus.


IBM has made this breakthrough by using photons to transfer the signals, which has been done by electrons all this while. This will record a new era of computing, which will be accompanied by massive parallelism. This simply means better implementations of Artificial Intelligence but it is not limited to that. We can reopen areas where development has been strictly theoretical or stagnant because of the lack of the necessary computing power.

What is interesting is that although Big Blue has claimed this breakthrough, the idea was also developed at Sun Microsystems, which was further funded by the DARPA. However, IBM had the advantage of stability and self-sufficiency. Therefore, it has been developing the technology on its own. In the meanwhile, Sun went down the Oracle drain and now, we have IBM taking away all the credit.


World’s Fastest CPU IBM z196 Clocks 5.2 GHz

I purchased my own computer back in 2000 something and that gorgeous beauty had a Intel Pentium3 1.1 GHz processor. Since then, I have changed several computers which have simply grown in speed and processing power.

Using the same 1.1 GHz processor would definitely make my work look like a chore today, however, thanks to hardware manufactures like Intel and AMD, I am assured of getting a better experience every time I use a PC. But here is something that will engulf all the currently available CPUs in the market, an IBM processor name z196 which clocks in 5.2Ghz.

The IBM z196 processor can execute 50 billion instructions per second, which makes the current generation of desktop processors look like a pauper. The CPU also has 1.4 billion transistors. The CPU also has a 64KB L1 instruction cache, 128KB L1 data cache and a 1.5 L2 cache.

However, don’t expect this CPU to make to desktops anytime soon, it costs several hundred thousands of dollars and was designed for IBM’s mainframes.

(Source: Tom’s Hardware)

IBM to Start Developing Mobile Apps Soon

Mobile applications are on a constant rise and so is the development of various mobile platforms. This development has allowed many mobile Operating Systems to reach a stable state, so that enterprise companies like IBM start considering them as a development platform for their business.

With this insight, IBM has announced that it will start developing mobile apps soon and has already the taken the first step in this process by developing an app for the iPhone. Mail Triage is an app developed by IBM which manages Email on the iPhone OS and IBM has many cool apps in store for Google Android too.

This announcement was made at unveiling of a new software lab at  Massachusetts. This new facility will cater solely to mobile app development and a considerable part of this app development will be related to social networking. IBM has already developed apps for Blackberry, Symbian, iPhone and the iPad. However, once it gets into the mainstream business, it will face tough competition from small scale developers who connect to their users in a better way.

An enterprise solution adds that feeling of receiving a good support and continuous updates and development though; it also includes a certain amount of red tape associated with approaching out to them.  Let us see what changes IBM brings about in this rich mobile app territory.


IBM Upsets the Open-Source World | TurboHercules and IBM Mudslinging Each Other

We had earlier covered the news of TurboHercules filing antitrust charges against IBM. That incident was in response to IBM when it laid charges against TurboHercules. IBM says, TurboHercules violates 173 of IBM’s patents.

Now, IBM has clearly denied those charges.  This attitude of IBM has upset the whole of the Open-Source community. Back in 2005, IBM assured them with promises of not using its patents to trouble Open-Source. But now, it is acting otherwise.

In a letter dated 11th March, 2010, IBM’s Mark Anzani, vice president and CTO for System z technology wrote,

Your suggestion that TurboHercules was unaware that IBM has intellectual property rights in this area is surprising. Your product emulates significant portions of IBM’s proprietary instruction set architecture and IBM has many patents that would, therefore, be infringed.

According to this statement, TurboHercules which is a ten year old company is stealing. That is partly outrageous on part of IBM but it can be justified to some extent.

Firstly, IBM has made wide monetary contributions to the growth and promotion of Open-Source and expects at least some trust from the community.

Secondly, the multiple statements released by IBM are contradictory and are prone to critical attack. Though, this does not definitely make them guilty.

Another statement from IBM makes them look like the good guys when they say,

Since TurboHercules is a member of organizations founded and funded by IBM competitors such as Microsoft to attack the mainframe, we have doubts about TurboHercules’ motivations and qualifications, and we will be interested to learn if that company will comply with the rules of the Open Source community.

However, IBM is acting in its own interest largely and this action is a clear attempt to save all the investment it had made into the mainframe business. Though, IBM surely does not get to call who is not fit to be a part of the Open-Source world.

[ Via: eWeek and linuxinsider ]

IBM Brings Better Power Metering, Teams with eMeter

IBM has devised a new device in collaboration with eMeter which is based on a smart grid. This device has been developed under their smarter planet strategy. This technology helps in intelligent power management of the house and is available to the public.

Quoting the article at earthweb by Andy Patrizio which describes what a smart grid is,

A smart grid uses two-way digital technology to deliver electricity to customers’ homes and to control appliances to increase energy efficiency and reduce power use. A smart grid includes an intelligent monitoring system that keeps track of all electricity flowing in the system, new power lines to reduce the power lost during transmission and the ability to integrate alternative sources of electricity such as solar and wind.

Smart grid can be used to regulate power to a device. For example, we can program/control the fans to work only for the hours we stay in the room. This makes power management easier and more efficient. The US government has already laid out plans for implementing this in public utilities at large firms. IBM aims to provide this service to smaller utilities, which are not covered by the government plan.

The eMeter smart grid appliance is completely built with IBM hardware and software. This device monitors two-way energy flow and strikes out a balance between all active devices.

The product is expected to be available by the second quarter of this year.

TurboHercules Charges IBM With Another Antitrust Complaint

TurboHercules, a French firm dealing in Open Source Mainframe software has filed its antitrust complaint on IBM which is the third one in the line for IBM.  TurboHercules alleges IBM that it ships it’s proprietary Operating System software with its mainframe hardware. This clears out any competition IBM faces from small competitors and makes it the mainframe Enterprise Giant.

Roger Bowler, the chairman of TurboHercules has remarked on this saying,

This conduct prevents TurboHercules from providing its product to mainframe customers desiring an open-source solution.

IBM has responded on this allegation alleging TurboHercules is trying to take advantage of IBM’s hardware and use it as their testing and development ground for their products.

IBM’s statement on this matter goes as,

TurboHercules is an ’emulation’ company that seeks a free ride on IBM’s massive investments in the mainframe by marketing systems that attempt to mimic the functionality of IBM mainframes.

Last year the U.S. Department of Justice had opened an antitrust case against IBM’s dominance in the mainframe market. IBM justifies this as the right to protect the investment they have made int their technologies.
[ Via: PCWorld ]

IBM to Research Mobile Access For The Aged And Illiterate

IBM is teaming up with educational institutions in India and Japan to create an open mobile user interface (UI) which will be common across all devices and will be much more user friendly. This UI will target the illiterate and the aged people who are not so tech savvy as the youth.

The Indian institution participating in this program is the National Institute of Design (NID), the Japanese one being Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (RCAST).

Nitendra Rajput, Open Collaborative Research lead at IBM Research India commented on this matter saying,

The findings of the research and any applications or technology developed will be released to the open-source community.

Working with the open-source community will help speed up the adoption of the technologies, and attract developers to build applications for the target populations.

Researchers have determined that it is easier for the aged people to use the Internet through a cellphone than through a computer. India and Japan have been chosen as the research grounds for this because Japan has the largest aging population while India has the largest illiterate population.This research is being facilitated through the IRL (Indian Research Labs).

The company is focusing on accelerometer as being a primary input source owing to it’s ease of use. This research once completed will be used to implement the results to a wider scenario including many other countries.
[ Via: networkworld ]

IBM Announces Develothon 2010

On the 22nd of  March, IBM has announced Develothon 2010, a program which aims to spread awareness amongst Software Engineers in India regarding newer technologies.
Last year, around 18 thousand IT professionals were trained under this program and this time the program will possibly cover educational institutes too.

The program will be organized as a 24 hour roadshow in collaboration with the IBM DeveloperWorks forum. The forum is extremely popular amongst developers and software designers.

IBM has been the pioneer in computer research in the field of computer science and this program aims to better the quality of software engineers in India and make them aware about the technologies of the next generations.

The Country Manager – Academic Initiatives, developerWorks and Globalization, Software Group, IBM India, Himanshu Goyal has remarked on this program saying,

The world of information technology is extremely competitive and dynamic.

He is absolutely correct as the current academic curriculum of India fails to address this rapid change in technology. This attempt by IBM is highly appreciated. It will make better Software Engineers out of us.
[Via: Stockwatch.in ]

IBM Launches Power7 Processor and Systems

With the launch of a new chip today called Power7, IBM plans to enter the high-end server market currently ruled by HP. The new chip introduced by IBM would have eight processing cores in each chip, allowing each core to execute 4 tasks simultaneously as compared to Intel’s high-end Xeon processor that only accommodates two tasks per core.

IBM will also launch a number of systems based on the Power7 chip including an IBM Power 780, IBM Power 770 and IBM Power 755 systems. Both 780 band 770 systems will feature 64 Power7 cores and the 755 system would feature 32 Power7 cores. IBM also claims that the new Power7 processors would consume only half the energy of previous Power6 processors while delivering twice the performance. Along with new processors, the Power7 systems will also offer various performance-increasing features such as the TurboMode that will help the systems optimize their workload.

The launch of these new systems from IBM would heat up the war with HP which is also supposed to announce the next generation version of Intel’s Itanium chip called Tukwila, on Feb 8th 2010. Not to forget that both IBM and HP have serious competition from Oracle, who enters the high-end server market after acquiring Sun Microsystems and it’s SPARC/Solaris line of hardware, earlier this year.

VMware Buys Zimbra, Microsoft & HP Sign $250M Deal, IBM To Move Panasonic To The Cloud

A battle in the technology world not talked about a lot is, VMware vs Microsoft in the enterprise arena. Last week has seen both these companies up the ante against each other. VMware has been giving Microsoft some stiff competition with their virtualization offerings and so far Microsoft has been able to hold the fort with a wide range of competitive products like Sharepoint, Server 2008 R2, Exchange Server, SQL Server, BizTalk Server etc. Virtualization and Cloud Computing are the industry buzz words with all the big names trying to gain market share. Microsoft’s Azure platform with Office Web Apps, Exchange, Outlook, Sharepoint make a compelling package for businesses. While all this is software, Microsoft realizes that it needs strategic partnerships with hardware manufacturers to strengthen its position. Which is where the deal with HP comes into picture. Microsoft’s deal with HP is significant, which is evident since the top leaders of both companies addressed the press briefing. The Microsoft-HP deal is for cloud infrastructure and unified solutions for the enterprise customers. Some minutes of the deal are:

  • Microsoft will be HP’s preferred partner for Virtualization solutions.
  • Lucrative hardware-software bundles from HP-Microsoft will be available for businesses.
  • HP’s software solutions for businesses will integrate and be interoperable with Microsoft’s suite of products.
  • HP will provide hardware for Microsoft’s Azure platform.

This deal will definitely help end users make decisions and upgrade their infrastructure. The CEOs of both companies have stated that this deal will not affect their respective commitments and partnerships with others.

VMware, on their part is attempting to provide their customers with an integrated solution of regularly used services. Zimbra was one of the most popular downloads on VMware’s Virtual Appliance market place. VMware CTO – Steve Herrod, did an article on the company blog talking about what prompted VMware’s decision to buy Zimbra. The article revolved around providing business customers with an integrated solution. It would be interesting to see how efficiently is VMware able to integrate Zimbra into their package since this would   diversify VMware’s offerings.

While I was writing this article, CNET reported that Panasonic will be migrating to the cloud as part of their globalization strategy. Panasonic will be dumping Microsoft Exchange and moving to IBM’s LotusLive suite of services. LotusLive is IBM’s collaboration offering for businesses that includes — email, calendar, contact management. This is being seen as the largest cloud migration.

So if you thought that Google is high on the cloud, think again. The war has just begun.