Follow by Email

Friday, March 28, 2014

IBM Watson and Cognitive Computing

Almost everyone knows that IBM put their Watson computer system up against humans to win Jeopardy and made headlines.  What many do not know is that IBM in January created a new business unit at the highest levels of the company headed by a Senior Vice President (Mike Rhodin) with a huge investment dedicated the commercial implementation of Watson and Cognitive Computing.

First let me give you the link to a YouTube video of the announcement.   Let me caution you that this is a 2 hour video so allow yourself plenty of time to watch this.

The whole point of Watson is for you to interact with a computer system, process huge amounts of data, find relevant facts, issues, and opportunities that you could not have found with a mere human brain.

Examples include the medical profession where huge sums of research are analyzed in addition to patient information to come up with suggested courses of treatment along with the probabilities of success.

Retail systems that ask you what you want and find exactly what you need based on your requirements.

Travel systems that customize trips to your needs and desires.

The list goes on.

IBM has dedicated ⅓ of IBM Research to Watson and is currently working to have it learn to hear and understand what it is hearing, to see by interpreting content in still and video images, and much much more.

Click the link and watch the video.  This is an example of a major company like IBM shifting directions.  Please note that Watson is based on IBM super computers, Big Data, and Cloud computing.  IBM has promised a sandbox where everyone can interact and experience Watson.  I'll post more once I try it out.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Big Changes in Computing

I've been following IBM's Q4 results along with its 2013 year end results and statements being made by Virginia Rometty, President and CEO about IBM's future.  It is clear that Cloud and Big Data are IBM's strategic direction.

In Rometty's letter to shareholders she was pretty clear about big changes in IBM's Power Systems division in light of its dismal 2013 performance.  She indicates a clear focus on Linux and participation in Cloud and Big Data.

See: Letter to Shareholders, 2013 Annual Report

It seems that Ms Rometty may have spoken to soon and too harshly in her letter above as a news release came out on Saturday, March 8, 2014 The Street published a letter from Rometty stating "We are not getting out of the hardware business"

We are we? Or are we not Mr Rometty?

This whole debacle is the result of IBM hardware sales being down by over 18% year to year and actually generating a substantial operating loss.  There is followed reports of over a 25% world wide reduction in staff for IBM STG (Systems & Technology Group -- responsible for computer hardware)  in all areas from sales to manufacturing and support.

So what does all this mean?

It means that Cloud computing is where IBM see's the future.  Instead of owning computers as in the past with all the technology challenges, security challenges, and risk, organizations like IBM, Google Amazon, and others will become utilities selling computer resources as a service and providing a vastly superior service than owning your own systems.

Just something to think about.