Member Summit 2014 - Computing Transformation

Computing Transformation and Impact on Information Technology Research and Development

Dave McQueeney, PhD, Vice President of Software. IBM Research

In the 100-year history of computing we have moved from early systems performing tabulating tasks such as counting and sorting, to a very long-running era of programmable systems. Today, computing systems touch most aspects of the physical world with sensors and also have become a core fabric for certain types of human interaction. This proliferation of sensors, and their ability to sense the state of the physical world and perform deep analysis on that world, has led us to an important new era of computing, which we have dubbed Cognitive Computing. Cognitive systems are designed to interact naturally with humans, and instead of a programmable paradigm, these systems are intended to learn from data. We see our work on the Watson system, featured on the Jeopardy! game show, as a first step into the world of Cognitive Systems. The role of research in the world of computing is changing dramatically, just as the role of our systems has been changing. Researchers are concerned with a much wider range of data sources, with a great diversity in the required domain knowledge across many industries, since the most valuable insights will come from the intersection of depth and breadth. Interactions with clients are now much more intense, and the discovery process is intensely collaborative. This talk focuses on how these dramatic changes in the world of computing have driven equally dramatic changes in the people, processes and technologies that are required to operate a successful research institution.