Helping customers before they call

by Francesco Calabrese, manager of Smarter Urban Dynamics, IBM Research-Ireland 

As our smartphones get smarter, we’re using more Over-The-Top applications like WhatsApp, Viber or Skype, rather than our telco provider’s voice, and text. This downward trend means shrinking income for the telco, even though it’s estimated that data usage will grow beyond 20 exabytes per month in the coming years. When my team of social, mobile and decision theory researchers at IBM’s lab in Dublin noticed this OTT trend, we wanted to know, in broader terms: could we measure and predict the quality of a customer’s experience on a telco network in real time?


Wickets, tweets, and a 3-D printer

by Josh Andres, User Experience, Design, Human Computer Interaction, IBM Research-Australia

What do 3-D printing, Twitter, and the sport of cricket have in common? Probably not a whole lot to most people.  But IBM intern Rohit Ashok Khot and I have been experimenting with ways to explore the benefits of visualizing personalized sports summaries in a tangible, 3-D form, here in IBM’s research lab in Melbourne. Basing our study on a cricket series between Bangladesh and India – two “heavy hitters” in the cricket world – we combined the power of real-time analytics and social media with the possibilities of 3-D printing.


IBM's New Polymers Acclaimed for Use in 3-D Printing

by Courtney Fox, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Carbon3D, Inc.

Polymeric materials have become an integral part of our lifestyle over the last century. They're made into an enormous range of products, from simple and inexpensive injection-molded toys and tchotchkes to super-strong bullet-proof vests and high-performance water-separation membranes.

Recent enhancements in both chemical and computational capabilities are giving scientists the ability to create specially designed polymers aimed at solving a host of important materials challenges.


Tachyon for ultra-fast Big Data processing

Editor’s note: This article is by cloud analytics infrastructure expert Gil Vernik, IBM Research-Haifa.

Today's massive growth in data sets means that storage is increasingly becoming a critical bottleneck for system workloads. My storage team in Haifa, Israel wants to analyze and understand these massive volumes of data, and we need to store them somewhere reliable. Although disk space is an option, it's too slow to carry out fast Big Data processing. In-memory computing, which keeps the data in a server’s RAM for fast access and processing, offers a good solution for processing Big Data workloads but it’s limited and expensive. 

Enter Tachyon, a memory-centric distributed storage system that offers processing at memory-speed and reliable storage. Its software works with servers in clusters so there’s plenty of room for storage, and a unique proprietary feature eliminates the need for replication to ensure fault tolerance. Now, we’ve connected Tachyon to Swift so it can work effortlessly with Swift and SoftLayer. The result? Tachyon is even more flexibile and efficient.

IBM z13 Technology and Design

Special Issue of the IBM Journal of Research and Development

This special issue of the IBM Journal of Research and Development describes the innovations and technology in the IBM z13, the latest mainframe with significant new capabilities, along with enhanced capacity, security, data serving, virtualization, reliability, and robustness. This new system is specifically designed for big data, analytics, mobile transactions, and cloud computing.


IBM DeepCurrent Predicts Environmental Changes in 3-D

From ocean bays in Ireland to fresh water lakes in New York, IBM “smarter water” scientists have developed a way to forecast the health of bodies of water — in 3-D. IBM DeepCurrent laps up data from coastlines to underwater depths via sensors attached to everything from buoys to tagged fish. It creates 3-D models that can zoom in on a location or event to provide accurate predictions of environmental dynamics, such as salt runoff or invasive species. So, business owners, environmental agencies and public administrators can use it to improve their accuracy in marine monitoring to better manage and forecast for potentially destructive environmental events.
Emanuele Ragnoli
“IBM DeepCurrent is a geophysical fluid dynamics tool that focuses on fluid motion in the earth’s water systems. It simulates the flow of water and corresponding changes in its properties, such as variations in temperature, salinity and nutrient concentrations."

“And it can also tell us about water flows, water quality, and other environmental parameters by using physical models, machine learning and control theory algorithms, combined with sensor data, in a particular coastal area,” said Emanuele Ragnoli, an IBM Environmental Analytics researcher in Dublin, Ireland.


Preserving Validity in Adaptive Data Analysis

Editor’s note: this article is by Vitaly Feldman, research scientist at IBM Research-Almaden

From discovering new particles and clinical studies to predicting election results and evaluating credit scores, scientific progress and industrial innovation increasingly rely on statistical data analysis. While incredibly useful, data analysis is also notoriously easy to misuse, even when the analyst has the best of intentions. Problems stemming from such misuse can be costly and contribute to a wider concern about the reproducibility of research findings, most notably in medical research. The issue is hotly debated in the scientific community and has attracted a lot of public attention in the recent years.