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IBM scientists achieve storage memory breakthrough [1694]

de System Administrator - lunes, 27 de junio de 2016, 22:51
 

For the first time, scientists at IBM Research have demonstrated reliably storing 3 bits of data per cell using a relatively new memory technology known as phase-change memory (PCM). In this photo, the experimental multi-bit PCM chip used by IBM scientists is connected to a standard integrated circuit board. The chip consists of a 2 × 2 Mcell array with a 4- bank interleaved architecture. The memory array size is 2 × 1000 μm × 800 μm. The PCM cells are based on doped-chalcogenide alloy and were integrated into the prototype chip serving as a characterization vehicle in 90 nm CMOS baseline technology. Credit: IBM Research

IBM scientists achieve storage memory breakthrough

For the first time, scientists at IBM Research have demonstrated reliably storing 3 bits of data per cell using a relatively new memory technology known as phase-change memory (PCM).

The current memory landscape spans from venerable DRAM to hard disk drives to ubiquitous flash. But in the last several years PCM has attracted the industry's attention as a potential universal memory technology based on its combination of read/write speed, endurance, non-volatility and density. For example, PCM doesn't lose data when powered off, unlike DRAM, and the technology can endure at least 10 million write cycles, compared to an average flash USB stick, which tops out at 3,000 write cycles.

This research breakthrough provides fast and easy storage to capture the exponential growth of data from mobile devices and the Internet of Things.

Applications

IBM scientists envision standalone PCM as well as hybrid applications, which combine PCM and flash storage together, with PCM as an extremely fast cache. For example, a mobile phone's operating system could be stored in PCM, enabling the phone to launch in a few seconds. In the enterprise space, entire databases could be stored in PCM for blazing fast query processing for time-critical online applications, such as financial transactions.

Machine learning algorithms using large datasets will also see a speed boost by reducing the latency overhead when reading the data between iterations.

How PCM Works

PCM materials exhibit two stable states, the amorphous (without a clearly defined structure) and crystalline (with structure) phases, of low and high electrical conductivity, respectively.

To store a '0' or a '1', known as bits, on a PCM cell, a high or medium electrical current is applied to the material. A '0' can be programmed to be written in the amorphous phase or a '1' in the crystalline phase, or vice versa. Then to read the bit back, a low voltage is applied. This is how re-writable Blue-ray Discs store videos.

Previously scientists at IBM and other institutes have successfully demonstrated the ability to store 1 bit per cell in PCM, but today at the IEEE International Memory Workshop in Paris, IBM scientists are presenting, for the first time, successfully storing 3 bits per cell in a 64k-cell array at elevated temperatures and after 1 million endurance cycles.

"Phase change memory is the first instantiation of a universal memory with properties of both DRAM and flash, thus answering one of the grand challenges of our industry," said Dr. Haris Pozidis, an author of the paper and the manager of non-volatile memory research at IBM Research - Zurich. "Reaching three bits per cell is a significant milestone because at this density the cost of PCM will be significantly less than DRAM and closer to flash."

To achieve multi-bit storage IBM scientists have developed two innovative enabling technologies: a set of drift-immune cell-state metrics and drift-tolerant coding and detection schemes.

More specifically, the new cell-state metrics measure a physical property of the PCM cell that remains stable over time, and are thus insensitive to drift, which affects the stability of the cell's electrical conductivity with time. To provide additional robustness of the stored data in a cell over ambient temperature fluctuations a novel coding and detection scheme is employed. This scheme adaptively modifies the level thresholds that are used to detect the cell's stored data so that they follow variations due to temperature change. As a result, the cell state can be read reliably over long time periods after the memory is programmed, thus offering non-volatility.

"Combined these advancements address the key challenges of multi-bit PCM, including drift, variability, temperature sensitivity and endurance cycling," said Dr. Evangelos Eleftheriou, IBM Fellow.

The experimental multi-bit PCM chip used by IBM scientists is connected to a standard integrated circuit board. The chip consists of a 2 × 2 Mcell array with a 4- bank interleaved architecture. The memory array size is 2 × 1000 μm × 800 μm. The PCM cells are based on doped-chalcogenide alloy and were integrated into the prototype chip serving as a characterization vehicle in 90 nm CMOS baseline technology.

  • Explore further: Intel Reports Breakthrough in Stacked, Cross Point Phase Change Memory Technology

  • More information: Aravinthan Athmanathan et al. Multilevel-Cell Phase-Change Memory: A Viable Technology, IEEE Journal on Emerging and Selected Topics in Circuits and Systems (2016). DOI: 10.1109/JETCAS.2016.2528598

  • M. Stanisavljevic, H. Pozidis, A. Athmanathan, N. Papandreou, T. Mittelholzer, and E. Eleftheriou,"Demonstration of Reliable Triple-Level-Cell (TLC) Phase-Change Memory,'' in Proc. International Memory Workshop, Paris, France, May 16-18, 2016  

  • Provided by: IBM 
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IBM SyNAPSE [714]

de System Administrator - miércoles, 13 de agosto de 2014, 20:14
 

IBM SyNAPSE, los chips que imitan el cerebro reducen su tamaño y consumo energetico 

IBM ha presentado los últimos avances en su proyecto SyNAPSE, que busca traer al mundo chips mucho más eficientes basados en sistemas neuronales.

 

POR JJ TORRES

Quizás no todo el mundo lo recuerde, pero hace poco más de tres años la gente de IBM anunció que se estaba embarcando en un emocionante y ambicioso proyecto:crear ordenadores que funcionaran como el cerebro humano. En aquél momento ya contaban con algunos prototipos funcionales, pero no tenían mucho que mostrar al mundo, y ahora vuelven para mostrarnos en qué han estado trabajando durante estos años.

El resultado del trabajo que han estado llevando a cabo durante todo este tiempo es pequeño chip, que según el Dr. Dharmendra S. Modha, jefe de investigaciones en el proyecto, puedes llevar contigo en la mochila. Este pequeño chip tiene un consumo energético ridículamente pequeño para las funciones que va a cumplir, o por lo menos eso es lo que asegura el equipo de trabajo que lo está desarrollando.

Según Modha, el chip SyNAPSE como unidad está en plena capacidad de suplantar racks completos de ordenadores, y al mismo tiempo reducir sustancialmente el consumo energético. Para poner las cosas de un modo más práctico, el jefe del proyecto ha indicado que el consumo de este chip es similar al de los aparatos que usan las personas con problemas auditivos y que solo requieren de una pequeña batería.

Una propuesta más que revolucionaria, casi un milagro

Los chips SyNAPSE podrían cambiar el modo en que concebimos la informática

Si lo que nos adelantan desde los laboratorios de IBM es real, más que ante un avance revolucionario, estaríamos ante un verdadero milagro de la informática moderna. Y es que no solo estamos hablando de consumos energéticos ridículamente bajos, sino que además se nos asegura que este tipo de chips a la larga logrará suplantar grandes servidores, por lo que imaginamos que podrá igualarse en términos de potencia reduciendo abismalmente el espacio necesario.

Pero claro, todo esto es posible al diseño poco convencional con el que ha sido desarrollado el chip, que ha optado por una arquitectura menos convencional que la usada en los procesadores actuales, a favor de la propia del cerebro humano.

El nuevo chip, que según los ingenieros de IBM ya está listo para entrar en fase de producción, cuenta conun millón de neuronas que entre sí alcanzan 256 millones de sinapsis y 4,096 núcleos neurosinapticos (termino presentado por la propia IBM). Para hacer funcionar todo esto correctamente, en IBM han tenido que crear sus propios lenguajes de programación, e incluso un programa para difundir la nueva tecnología entre desarrolladores.

¿En verdad se puede imitar el cerebro humano?

No todo órgano compuesto por neuronas es un cerebro

Cuando se trata de lanzar noticias de calado siempre funciona utilizar términos de impacto, como por ejemplo, decir que un chip funciona como el cerebro humano. A criterio de un servidor, y tomando en cuenta lo poco que IBM ha hecho de conocimiento público en función de la arquitectura de su chip, funciona más como un sistema neuronal que como un cerebro al uso.

Así, se supone que el nuevo chip de IBM tiene elementos que imitan las neuronas y sus sinapsis, pero eso no le convierte en un cerebro al uso. Debemos recordar que un cerebro humano tiene múltiples áreas encargadas de labres puntuales. Más aún, no debemos olvidar que la humanidad todavía sabe relativamente poco respecto a cómo funciona el cerebro humano, por lo que difícilmente podemos imitar algo que no sabemos cómo funciona realmente.

En conclusión, podemos imitar el funcionamiento de un sistema neuronal, o por lo menos podemos intentarlo, y con algo de suerte, conforme avancen las investigaciones de IBM y se arroje luz sobre muchos misterios en las neurociencias, con el paso de los años podríamos acercarnos a conseguir algo como lo que IBM intenta vendernos actualmente.

De cualquier modo, no se puede negar que el fundamento del proyecto está bien encaminado, y si el milagro es cierto, los avances obtenidos con este proyecto tanto para las neurociencias como para la informática podrían ser invaluables.

Link: http://gizmologia.com/2014/08/ibm-synapse

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IBM teaches Watson how to see and hear, opens APIs for businesses to use 'cognitive computing' [1449]

de System Administrator - jueves, 24 de septiembre de 2015, 18:00
 

IBM teaches Watson how to see and hear, opens APIs for businesses to use 'cognitive computing' 

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IBM tunes up API Harmony with cognitive technology for Bluemix [1586]

de System Administrator - martes, 17 de noviembre de 2015, 17:59
 

IBM tunes up API Harmony with cognitive technology for Bluemix

by Ed Scannell

IBM steps up its API strategy with a new version of API Harmony through Bluemix, and a partnership with The Linux Foundation to promote the acceptance of open APIs.

IBM has doubled down on its cloud-based API strategy, delivering improvements to its API Harmony matchmaking offering along with forming a joint project with The Linux Foundation to create an open API ecosystem.

One of the improvements to API Harmony is the first-time integration of machine learning capabilities. This cognitive technology can better assist user organizations through an intelligent search technology that locates APIs and helps them choose the combination of APIs best suited for a particular application.

The new technology works in concert with IBM's API management software to help IT create, assemble, manage and secure APIs through a portal that allows developers to interact and use already published APIs. The API Harmony service is available through IBM's cloud on Bluemix.

"Developers typically spend huge amounts of time trying to not only find the right API, but the right versions of that API in mountains of code they have to comb through," said Angel Diaz, vice president of cloud architecture and technology for IBM. "But with the new improvements, [API Harmony] can find and intelligently query millions of APIs and, as importantly, millions more versions of those APIs.

"Think of it as a Web crawler for APIs," he said.

The cognitive technologies IBM has infused into the updated version tells developers what they need in order to build a specific application, make recommendations about which APIs to use, display the various relationships among multiple APIs and tell them what is missing.

Offerings like API Harmony will be necessary for larger organizations to get full access to data stored across a wide range of host-based systems and to share it internally and externally, said Dan Hushon, CTO with Computer Sciences Corp. in Falls Church, Va.

"We are always looking at ways to expose information locked inside legacy information, and to do so in substantially more standard ways," Hushon said. "Being able to get that information out to clients with more context can allow them to make better decisions resulting in things like higher user productivity or better communication with business partners."

IBM officials see these offerings as the way forward for organizations wanting to participate in the API Economy, which they said involves the commercial exchange of "business functions and other competencies in APIs." They believe it will be the key driver that spurs much of the digital transformation within and across industries.

Ovum, an IT research and advisory company, predicts the API Economy will be a $2.2 trillion market by 2018, with the number of enterprises having an API program growing 150% over the next two to three years.

"There is a huge amount of energy and potential in this market, and API management is an important subset of it, which is where API Harmony fits in," IBM's Diaz said.

In related news, The Linux Foundation unveiled the Open API Initiative, a collaborative effort with IBM and other standards organizations, whose goal is to standardize and document APIs in a more consistent way, as well as create a shared governance model and community for the Swagger specification.

"Swagger is the way most developers describe APIs," Diaz said. "At the end of the day, we have to evolve Swagger to meet [the] diversity of use cases out there, especially to meet the diversity of enterprise workloads both big and small."

IBM's reference customer, India-based YES Bank, implemented IBM's API Management offering to expose its core business assets and data to its business partners and users. The API Banking platform gives the bank new business channels to establish digital partnerships with existing customers, according to IBM.

Next Steps

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IBM Watson adds hybrid cloud developer tools [1227]

de System Administrator - martes, 12 de mayo de 2015, 00:23
 

IBM Watson adds hybrid cloud developer tools

By Thor Olavsrud

Watson Explorer helps developers build hybrid cloud cognitive applications using data sets resident in a mix of on-premises, public and private cloud environments.

IBM Watson this week began rolling out new hybrid cloud capabilities that will integrate IBM Cloud with a growing number of cognitive computing and content analytics services in the Watson Zone on Bluemix, IBM's open standards-based cloud innovation platform.

Big Blue says the new capabilities will help clients bridge enterprise data with Web-based cloud applications for faster and more insightful data intelligence.

 

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IBM Watson Ecosystem Partners in Market Building Businesses [1448]

de System Administrator - jueves, 24 de septiembre de 2015, 16:42
 

 

from IBM

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE:   IBM) today announced a new milestone as more than 100 of its Watson partners have now introduced cognitive enabled apps, products and services into the market.                                                                                                       

These partners – start ups and innovators in established businesses – are leveraging the Watson Developer Cloud, a platform used by more than 77,000 developers globally to pilot, test and deploy new business ideas.

 

San Francisco - On September 24, 2015, at IBM's newly announced "Watson West" hub, the company unveiled it is making new Watson APIs...

The app economy is in full swing, projected to grow to $143 billion in 2016* with applications catering to every conceivable interest and industry. At the same time, IDC predicts that by 2018, half of all consumers will interact with services based on cognitive computing on a regular basis**.

To help organizations tap into this market opportunity IBM today expanded its portfolio of Watson APIs and services to accelerate the development of Watson fueled businesses and help partners differentiate their businesses. Following are some of the new ways partners are using those technologies to enrich their products and services:                                                                                                       

Card Payments and Financial Services: 50wise created its eVision tool, powered by Watson, to provide query support to card payments professionals. Indra Financial Services will now include this tool built with Watson Q&A, to provide users with real-time answers and expertise to customer enquiries, further improving operational efficiency for processing these banks' card payments.                                                                                                       

Social Media Marketing: Ampsy offers brands live event media aggregation "as a service" through its proprietary media geofencing engine. Its AmpElite analytics platform powered by Watson integrates multiple language APIs to bring sophisticated, actionable data to clients in entertainment and marketing industries. Entertainment marketing firms CrowdSurf and Epic Rights whose client roster includes Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus; and Aerosmith and Billy Joel respectively, are using AmpElite to monitor fans' reactions for their clients during live events across multiple social channels and respond and engage with fans in a more targeted, personalized way.                                                                                                       

Knowledge Management: Bloomfire  is a cloud-based knowledge network platform that helps employees within a company easily find the information they need to do their jobs. By scanning posts within the platform and automatically creating tags via the Watson data insights API, employees at companies including Whole Foods, Dun & Bradstreet and Etsy spend less time searching for information and more time doing meaningful work to improve company performance.                                                                                                       

Student Career Counseling: Carney Labs is an education technology company that provides a platform embedded with Watson language capabilities to help schools learn about a student's personality characteristics in order to build them a career roadmap. The Commonwealth of Virginia adopted a policy for all high schools in the state to leverage this app to use with students entering their freshman year.                                                                                                      

Strategy Advisory: Case Strategy is a strategy consulting firm delivering client profit growth using its Watson-powered app PoGO® -- Portfolio of Growth Opportunities. This tool, leveraging Watson Q&A, informs, guides, and helps activate companies' growth strategies. The app is democratizing expert business growth strategy advice by delivering the insight and support of a seasoned strategy consultant directly to clients' fingertips. Mizkan Americas, a leading consumer packaged goods company, is using the app to craft custom strategic plans for key segments of their business.                                                                                                       

Citizen Services: Cerebri, a Watson University Competition winner, has rolled out its citizen services app embedded with Watson language capabilities, with the United Way for Greater Austin. It serves to help streamline the delivery of targeted, useful social services information across mobile platforms, ensuring the right information is available when and where it is needed, especially for citizens without home internet service.                                                                                                      

Advertising and Marketing: Equals3 is a marketing technology company that developed a media solution utilizing a combination of Watson language APIs to provide media planners, buyers, advertising, and marketing agencies a streamlined and targeted media campaign planning process. Havas Media, a global media company, is using the solution powered by Watson for major brand campaigns to help their customers reach their audiences in engaging ways.                                                                                                       

Personalized Health and Wellness: iDAvatars allows patients with chronic diseases to take control of their health and wellness with its Intelligent Digital Avatar platform powered by IBM Watson. Using the cognitive power of IBM Watson language APIs, iDAvatars provides patients with an engaging and interactive user experience to help them assess, track and control their illnesses through changes in diet, exercise, compliance with medical regimen, and compassionate and encouraging social support. The Veterans Health Administration is using iDAvatars in its Virtual Medical Center for patients with diabetes, PTSD, and other conditions that require long term management and access to educational content.                                                                                                       

Research & DevelopmentInno360, an enterprise research and innovation management platform provider, is embedding a powerful combination of 7 Watson APIs for language and data insights into its SaaS platform to transform the way its clients, including Fortune 50 companies, conduct research and process big data. Inno360 is able to provide its clients advanced analysis of their R&D data to resolve product issues quickly and bring new products to market more rapidly.                                                                                                       

Personal Health and Family Care: InterActive-BB, LLC, has developed, for America's senior population and those who care for them, an online advisor, InterActivePlanning.com embedded with Watson Q&A. InterActivePlanning.com provides state-specific answers to questions posed in natural language and helps users more easily navigate services such as Medicaid, VA payments, Medicare, and the like, to plan for the best possible elder care. Senior care management and planning providers, Cariloop and CareFamily, are distributing this tool to educate consumers on how they can obtain acceptable levels of health care, while also protecting families from the high financial burden often associated with long-term care services.                                                                                                       

Athletic Performance: ORRECO, a provider of biomarker analysis, is helping the world's best athletes reach their true potential with Coach Watson, an app powered by Watson. By embedding Watson Q&A, the app can recommend personalized rest, recovery and nutrition programs for athletes based on understanding cutting edge sport science research, combined with the athlete's biomarker and training data. Nike Oregon Track Club Elite is using Coach Watson to help optimize training response and reduce the risk of illness and injury.                                                                                                       

Online Marketing/CRM: SocialBro is a Twitter marketing platform that leverages Watson language capabilities to help companies better understand their customers by personalities rather than demographics for marketing campaigns that are personalized, relevant, and impactful. Multinationals such as telecommunications provider Telefonica, and human resources consulting company Adecco are leveraging SocialBro's platform powered by Watson to understand cognitive and social characteristics for select population segments.                                                                                                       

Talent Sourcing and Matching: UnitesUs is a cloud based hiring & recruitment platform utilizing cognitive computing and big data analysis to match prospective employees to hiring organizations based on personality, company cultural fit, and core qualifications. By analyzing the personalities of job candidates leveraging Watson language capabilities and characterizing a company's work environment, UnitesUs uses proprietary, automated matching algorithms to help companies, including imaging and electronics company Ricoh USA and fitness gym chain 24 Hour Fitness, make better hiring decisions.                                                                                                       

Wine Recommendations: VineSleuth's Wine4.me In-Store Advisor provides shoppers with individualized wine recommendations based on embedded Watson cognitive language and speech capabilities and VineSleuth's proprietary objective wine data generated by an expert team of sensory scientists, and wine makers, educators, and evaluators to remove subjective opinions from the wine-buying process. The Advisor allows consumers to easily share wine preferences in plain language to the kiosk, and receive a custom list of suggested wines based on food pairing, price range, and similarity to another wine and/or a specific flavor profile.                                                                                                       

Sales Training: Volume, an award-winning global digital content and technology provider, is changing the way companies - including Virgin Media Business - are able to present products and services to customers. The cognitive learning platform and sales optimization app is powered by Watson language APIs that categorize a large pool of product and sales information. Volume's platform reduces the time, cost and complexity of honing salespeople's product expertise while providing an engaging customer experience to inform purchasing decisions quickly.                                                                                                       

These latest partner examples join recently announced efforts by Purple Forge in citizen services; Edge Up Sports and the competitive world of fantasy football; ENGEO for engineering; and ROSS Intelligence for legal professionals.                                                                                                        

To advance innovative businesses that are resulting from the Watson Ecosystem program, IBM is drawing upon $100 million intended to seed select start-ups and businesses. Early investments have included WayBlazer, Sellpoints, Welltok, Pathway Genomics, Modernizing Medicine, and Fluid.                                                                                                       

IBM Watson: Pioneering a New Era of Computing                                                                                                       

Watson is the first open cognitive computing technology platform and represents a new era in computing where systems understand the world in the way that humans do: through senses, learning, and experience. Watson continuously learns, gaining in value and knowledge over time, from previous interactions. With the help of Watson, organizations are harnessing the power of cognitive computing to transform industries, help professionals do their jobs better, and solve important challenges.                                                                                                       

To advance Watson, IBM has two dedicated business units: Watson, established for the development of cloud-delivered cognitive computing technologies that represent the commercialization of "artificial intelligence" or "AI" across a variety of industries, and Watson Health, dedicated to improving the ability of doctors, researchers and insurers and other related health organizations to surface new insights from data to and deliver personalized healthcare                                                                                                       

To read more about how Watson is an incubator for startups and innovation, visit: http://ibm.co/1FdAhfn                                                                                                       

To read an IBM Watson Ecosystem partner story, visit http://ibm.co/1NKE0Cy To learn more about the newest APIs, visit this post on the Watson Developer blog: http://ibm.co/1NTOf93                                                                                                       

For more information on IBM Watson, visit: ibm.com/Watson and ibm.com/press/Watson                                                                                                       

Join the conversation at #ibmwatson and #WatsonWest. Follow Watson on Facebook and see Watson on YouTube and Flickr.                                                                                                        

*Developer Economics, Q1 2014, State of the Developer Nation. https://www.developereconomics.com/reports/q1-2014/                                                                                                       

** IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Big Data and Analytics 2015 Predictions http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=253423&pageType=PRINTFRIENDLY                                                                                                       

CONTACT: Charisse Higgins, 347-266-7540347-266-7540, cthiggin@us.ibm.com                                                                                                        

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150924/270336 Logo -  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090416/IBMLOGO 

SOURCE  IBM

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IBM Watson extends cognitive computing to IoT [1623]

de System Administrator - domingo, 27 de diciembre de 2015, 15:05
 

IBM Watson extends cognitive computing to IoT

By Pam Baker

IBM announced Tuesday that it has extended Watson capabilities to connected devices and systems by adding Watson APIs in a new IBM Watson IoT Foundation Analytics offering. Further, it is aggressively building the ecosystem with the ongoing addition of partners.

To accelerate cognitive IoT, IBM has provided four new core APIs: Natural language processing API, machine learning Watson API, the video and image analytics Watson API and the text analytics Watson API.

The NLP API enables a human user to query in natural language. This is important as it allows machine users to simply ask a question to get the answer. For example, a user can ask why a machine is vibrating or the cause of its current malfunction and Watson can answer the query by discerning the meaning of the query and translating the intent on its own.

The machine learning API continuously learns from interactions and adapts to circumstances in order to proactively offer assistance such as automatic traffic rerouting for drivers, sound and screen image adjustments on televisions and mobile screens, and optimal repair, maintenance or replacement actions to field techs. Indeed, the machine learning aspect can be used to improve almost any aspect of IoT use.

The video and image analytics API enables wider use of unstructured data such as video feeds and still shot images. Video, photo and sound analytics are one of the most pressing needs in IoT since so many devices gather data in these formats.

The text analytics API also tackles unstructured data ranging from social media and blog posts to customer communications and call center transcripts. This enables cognitive computing to answer queries and offer resolutions to customer problems which can be anything from brake problems on a car to programming problems with smart home devices and just about anything IoT related.

IBM also announced the opening of its new global headquarters for Watson IoT in Munich as well as eight new Watson IoT Client Experience Centers across Asia, Europe and the Americas.

 

The Highlight Towers at Mies-van-der-Rohe-Strabe 6 in Munich, Germany will serve as the global headquarters for IBM's new Watson IoT unit | Source: IBM

Link: http://www.fiercebigdata.com

 

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IBM’s A.I. System Watson to Get Second Home, on West Coast [1494]

de System Administrator - jueves, 8 de octubre de 2015, 15:34
 

Amy Gross, the head of VineSleuth, works with Vinith Misra of IBM on her company’s new Watson-enabled app at the IBM Bluemix Garage in San Francisco. Credit Tony Avelar/Feature Photo Service for IBM

IBM’s A.I. System Watson to Get Second Home, on West Coast

IBM’s Watson is moving West and widening its ambitions.

The company plans to open a second headquarters for Watson, its artificial-intelligence system, in San Francisco in 2016 and eventually employ several hundred people. IBM’s Watson group, set up as a separate business in January 2014, has its East Coast headquarters in downtown Manhattan.

But a series of other announcements from the company expected on Thursday may be more significant. They represent the clearest sign so far of IBM’s long-term goal: to make Watson the equivalent of a computing operating system for an emerging class of data-fueled artificial-intelligence applications.

IBM explored paths to commercializing the technology after Watson beat human champions in the quiz show “Jeopardy!” in 2011. At first, the company focused on big demonstration projects with big companies and institutions, especially in medicine and health care.

But the plan has broadened, especially in the last year, to move beyond custom work for major clients to creating a growing collection of services, so that software developers at start-ups and elsewhere can easily use them in applications.

On Thursday, IBM will announce new capabilities in Watson services like speech, language understanding, image recognition and sentiment analysis. These humanlike abilities such as seeing, listening and reasoning are those associated with artificial intelligence in computing. IBM calls its approach to A.I. “cognitive computing.”

All the major technology companies – Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and others — are pursuing A.I. applications. Some are ahead of IBM in fields like image recognition.

Yet what is distinctive about IBM, analysts say, is the breadth of its effort to create Watson tools and services as plug-in offerings for a wide range of developers.

“IBM is building out a broad platform for where they think the future of computing is heading,” said David Schubmehl, an analyst at IDC.

Mr. Schubmehl compared the IBM playbook in A.I. computing with Microsoft’s with Windows in personal computing and Google’s with Android OS in mobile. “IBM is trying to do the same thing with Watson,” he said, “open up a platform, make it available for others, and democratize the technology.”

IBM says it now has 350 company partners using Watson to make products, with about 50 services on the market. Some 70,000 software developers, IBM says, are using Watson software in some way. Many are in large organizations like ANZ Bank, Johnson & Johnson, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Mayo Clinic and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

But the event in San Francisco will highlight start-ups using Watson technology. One of them is VineSleuth, whose Wine4.me app provides wine recommendations for consumers based on sensory science and predictive algorithms. The start-up, which is based in Houston, plans to use Watson’s language classifier and translation services in kiosks it will put in grocery stores early next year.

A customer, explained Amy Gross, president of VineSleuth, will be able to walk up to a kiosk, tap the screen and say, “I want a wine for under $10 that goes well with salmon.” And in reply, the person is shown a list of suggested wines that meet the criteria. If a person registers, the recommendations can become personalized, based on tastes and purchase history.

UnitesUs, an online service for matching job seekers with employers, is using Watson’s “personality insights” service. It amounts to automated, online personality assessments. The person looking for a job fills out a brief online application, which asks for permission to mine their public Twitter messages, Facebook posts or other social social-media writing.

The Watson personality-assessment service then generates a report. The service has only been operating for a few months, but it seems to appeal to companies. About 7.5 percent of the thousands of job seekers on UnitesUs have been called for interviews by employers, according to Khashayar Youssefi, the company’s chief executive. By contrast, the interview-call rate for major online job services like Monster and Careerbuilder is typically 1 to 4 percent, said Bardia Nikpourian, chief technology officer of UnitesUs, which is based in Irvine, Calif.

Amy Case, head of Case Strategy, a consulting firm, is using Watson to read, sort and assess vast amounts of financial, market and competitive data — from public government information, private sources and online social networks — to suggest growth opportunities for corporate clients.

“It’s your judgment in the end,” Ms. Case said. “But Watson provides some serious muscle” in winnowing, identifying and ranking possible strategic choices.

The new office in San Francisco, called Watson West, seems to be about both tapping talent and changing minds. IBM already has a presence on Howard Street, where one of its teams works on web and mobile apps for clients, and a large footprint in Silicon Valley, including its Almaden Research Center in San Jose.

Yet Watson West, said Robert High, chief technology officer for the Watson business, is intended to “cater to the heart of the entrepreneurial community here in San Francisco and in Silicon Valley.”

“Presence influences points of view,” Mr. High said, suggesting that Watson can burnish IBM’s image as an innovator. “If you’re not there, you’re out of sight and out of mind.”

Link: http://www.nytimes.com

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IEEE predicts mind control on tap for 2025 [1204]

de System Administrator - jueves, 16 de abril de 2015, 14:19
 

IEEE predicts mind control on tap for 2025

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If Algorithms Know All, How Much Should Humans Help? [1201]

de System Administrator - sábado, 11 de abril de 2015, 20:50
 

If Algorithms Know All, How Much Should Humans Help?

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Armies of the finest minds in computer science have dedicated themselves to improving the odds of making a sale. The Internet-era abundance of data and clever software has opened the door to tailored marketing, targeted advertising and personalized product recommendations.

Shake your head if you like, but that’s no small thing. Just look at the technology-driven shake-up in the advertising, media and retail industries.

This automated decision-making is designed to take the human out of the equation, but it is an all-too-human impulse to want someone looking over the result spewed out of the computer. Many data quants see marketing as a low-risk — and, yes, lucrative — petri dish in which to hone the tools of an emerging science. “What happens if my algorithm is wrong? Someone sees the wrong ad,” said Claudia Perlich, a data scientist who works for an ad-targeting start-up. “What’s the harm? It’s not a false positive for breast cancer.”

But the stakes are rising as the methods and mind-set of data science spread across the economy and society. Big companies and start-ups are beginning to use the technology in decisions like medical diagnosis, crime prevention and loan approvals. The application of data science to such fields raises questions of when close human supervision of an algorithm’s results is needed.

These questions are spurring a branch of academic study known as algorithmic accountability. Public interest and civil rights organizations are scrutinizing the implications of data science, both the pitfalls and the potential. In the foreword to a report last September, “Civil Rights, Big Data and Our Algorithmic Future,” Wade Henderson, president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, wrote, “Big data can and should bring greater safety, economic opportunity and convenience to all people.”

Take consumer lending, a market with several big data start-ups. Its methods amount to a digital-age twist on the most basic tenet of banking: Know your customer. By harvesting data sources like social network connections, or even by looking at how an applicant fills out online forms, the new data lenders say they can know borrowers as never before, and more accurately predict whether they will repay than they could have by simply looking at a person’s credit history.

Link: http://www.nytimes.com


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