Home A Day With the Bloggers at IBM: Notes – Part 2

A Day With the Bloggers at IBM: Notes – Part 2

IBM invited a group of bloggers for a day to talk with executives and a visit to the labs. This morning the discussion centered on analytics. This afternoon the conversation still focused on analytics with more emphasis on IBM’s larger theme about the “smarter planet.”

12- 1 p.m EST: Long discussion about IBM investment. Major focus is on smarter cities and water supplies. IBM is working with non-profits on the Hudson River Sensors have ben deployed to monitor the water supply. The stream computing system examines different sources to understand the dynamics of the river. Temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen and pollution are all analyzed in real-time. Fish populations are monitored through acoustical data and tracked with radio tagging.

IBM is using the Hudson River test as a model for monitoring other river systems. Conversation turned to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Federal government received 80,000 bids from contractors. IBM did not get the contract to use radar to monitor the spill.

Tenor of conversation: governments are lacking innovation in efforts to keep water clean.

Why? We see it more due to a lack of resources and a brain trust that is more attracted to the corporate world. The private sector is innovating but local governments are just trying to keep the water flowing. Technology may help us solve our water quality issues but it will most likely be with the help of companies like IBM.

1-2 p.m.: Traveled to the IBM Hawthorne campus to meet with researchers. Driver left us at the wrong building. Lost bloggers. How many bloggers does it take to find the right entrance to a building?

2 pm -2:30 p.m.: Provided presentation about IBM’s research. Focus in the 1990s centered on software and services. Today it’s about the smarter planet. For example, IBM is working with Washington, D.C. to analyze the data from customer service records, billing and additional paper-based records. By comparing historical data, the city can better anticipate what pipes need fixing.

IBM research is focused on smarter planet efforts. Analytics plays directly into the effort. IBM is working with venture capitalists to find analytics start-ups that it can fund. It is holding a series of camps all over the world to find qualifying start-ups.

2:30-3 p.m: Jeopardy presentation. IBM is developing Watson, a project similar to Deep Blue, which culminated in the famous chess match between the IBM Deep Blue computer and Gary Kasparov. DeepBlue won. DeepBlueQA is being built to see if the computer can beat human counterpart. The project is a combination of natural language processing, analytics and probability. DeepBlueQA will compete this Fall with

3 p.m. – 4 p.m.: Learned about some of the research projects underway, including what IBM calls the “desktop cloud,” that has direct applications to healthcare. We saw how a thin client is connected to the cloud and can be used to pull up a patient’s records at their bed side. Thin client can only read, not write information. Cloud is encrypted to provide required security.


Found the day at IBM helpful but these topics could all be discussed for hours. Unconference format would work well. Discussions had to be cut off at some points as there were so many people who were there to meet with us. It would allow for more in-depth conversations with executives and researchers in an informal environment. People could come and go. Discussion at the end of the day would wrap up what was learned and discussed.

Bu in summary, it’s a smart move to bring bloggers in to meet and learn more about a company and what it does.

IBM paid the airfare and hotel for Alex Williams to attend its blogger event.

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