Archive for March 2012
IBM’s been on a roll with the supercomputer situation of late.
Last week, we announced the installation of a Blue Gene supercomputer at Rutgers, and earlier today, we discovered that the IBM Blue Gene supercomputer is coming to my great home state of Texas.
Specifically, IBM announced a partnership with Houston’s Rice University to build the first award-winning IBM Blue Gene supercomputer in Texas.
Rice also announced a related collaboration agreement with the University of Sao Paul (USP) in Brazil to initiate the shared administration and use of the Blue Gene supercomputer, which allows both institutions to share the benefits of the new computing resource.
Now, you all play nice as you go about all that protein folding analysis!
Rice faculty indicated they would be using the Blue Gene to further their own research and to collaborate with academic and industry partners on a broad range of science and engineering questions related to energy, geophysics, basic life sciences, cancer research, personalized medicine and more.
“Collaboration and partnership have a unique place in Rice’s history as a pre-eminent research university, and it is fitting that Rice begins its second century with two innovative partnerships that highlight the university’s commitments to expanding our international reach, strengthening our research and building stronger ties with our home city,” said Rice President David Leebron about the deal.
USP is Brazil’s largest institution of higher education and research, and Rodas said the agreement represents an important bond between Rice and USP. “The joint utilization of the supercomputer by Rice University and USP, much more than a simple sharing of high-tech equipment, means the strength of an effective partnership between both universities,” explained USP President Joao Grandino Rodas.
Unlike the typical desktop or laptop computer, which have a single microprocessor, supercomputers typically contain thousands of processors. This makes them ideal for scientists who study complex problems, because jobs can be divided among all the processors and run in a matter of seconds rather than weeks or months.
Supercomputers are used to simulate things that cannot be reproduced in a laboratory — like Earth’s climate or the collision of galaxies — and to examine vast databases like those used to map underground oil reservoirs or to develop personalized medical treatments.
USP officials said they expect their faculty to use the supercomputer for research ranging from astronomy and weather prediction to particle physics and biotechnology.
In 2009, President Obama recognized IBM and its Blue Gene family of supercomputers with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the most prestigious award in the United States given to leading innovators for technological achievement.
Including the Blue Gene/P, Rice has partnered with IBM to launch three new supercomputers during the past two years that have more than quadrupled Rice’s high-performance computing capabilities.
The addition of the Blue Gene/P doubles the number of supercomputing CPU hours that Rice can offer. The six-rack system contains nearly 25,000 processor cores that are capable of conducting about 84 trillion mathematical computations each second. When fully operational, the system is expected to rank among the world’s 300 fastest supercomputers as measured by the TOP500 supercomputer rankings.
Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is back in business, as “Mad Men” kicked off its long-anticipated fifth season last evening on AMC.
And so was Tiger Woods, who started pulling magic iron shots from his pixie-dusted golf bag yesterday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, leaving Irish lad Graeme McDowell babbling in his Tiger mid-iron dust.
Tiger Woods is back, ladies and gentlemen, and the Master’s is just around the corner!
I’ll spare you all the nitty gritty details, but if you’re a golf fan, and you watched his final round yesterday, you know of which I speak.
The old Tiger Woods has been replaced by a newer, more mature Tiger Woods, one who can maintain the celebrated spontaneity of golf while working through a tough track like Bay Hill with utter precision.
Though McDowell’s putter was zoning in from the next Florida county yesterday, it still wasn’t a match for Tiger’s laser precise approach irons, the kind that can make a grown mid-teen handicapper weep.
Who needs to sink long putts when you can hit a Nike ball 185 yards and put it four feet from the hole for a virtual gimme??!
I just hope Arnold Palmer is feeling better. The golfing “King” and Bay Hill host had to be taken to the hospital due to some blood pressure issues yesterday afternoon and so wasn’t there to offer up Woods’ his seventh Bay Hill title.
But that’s okay…today, Arnold’s expected to be resting at home, and Tiger’s back in the hunt and celebrating his first PGA Tour victory in two and a half years.
Much as many of us liked beating up on him while he was gone, we couldn’t be happier to see him not only playing, but fiercely competitive, once again.
As for my thoughts about Don Draper and company…well, that one will require further fermentation before I can offer any cogent comment. Shaken, not stirred.
I hate cancer. I really hate it.
I mean really. Really really really.
I’ve lost more friends and family to cancer than I care to count. I’ve lost an uncle to cancer. My two aunts. My grandfather. My grandmother.
In the last year, I’ve lost two good friends, and another one before them, several years ago, all wayyy too early (early 30s to mid 40s).
I hate cancer.
So I was pretty stoked about our announcement yesterday where my virtual brother, as Scott and I recently joked with Watson GM Manoj Saxena, is getting another form of unemployment.
First, there was Watson’s gig at Wellpoint, helping doctors with diagnoses. Then we learned Watson was heading to work at Citibank to help out on Wall Street.
Now Watson is being put to use at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in an effort to help oncologists obtain detailed diagnostic and treatment options based on updated research that will help them decide how best to care for an individual patient.
MSKCC’s world-renowned oncologists will assist in developing IBM Watson to use a patient’s medical information and synthesize a vast array of continuously updated and vetted treatment guidelines, published research and insights gleaned from the deep experience of MSKCC clinicians to provide those individualized recommendations to doctors. It will also help provide users with a detailed record of the data and evidence used to reach the recommendations?
You can learn more about this new evidence-based approach to cancer treatment in the video below.
Oncology treatment is a complex arena, and yet cancers are the second most common cause of death in the U.S., second only to heart disease.
In fact, the American Cancer Society projects that 1.6 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year with outcomes varying wildly across the country.
Cancer isn’t a single disease with one footprint of cause, but rather, with some having hundreds of sub-types, each with a different genetic fingerprint.
Significant discoveries in molecular biology and genetics in the past two decades have delivered new insights into cancer biology and strategies for targeting specific molecular alterations in tumors. But in the process, these advances have also ratcheted up the complexity of diagnosing and treating each case.
“This comprehensive, evidence-based approach will profoundly enhance cancer care by accelerating the dissemination of practice-changing research at an unprecedented pace,” said Dr. Mark G. Kris, Chief, Thoracic Oncology Service at MSKCC and one of the clinicians leading the development effort. He noted that 85 percent of patients with cancer are not treated at specialized medical centers and it can take years for the latest developments in oncology to reach all practice settings.
I’m heading back to one of my favorite cities in the world in May, to Madrid.
I first visited Madrid traveling on business in June 2008, an auspicious time to be there, as the UEFA Euro 2008 tournament was quickly winding down to a conclusion.
One night, June 10th to be precise, my IBM cabal and I were looking for a small bar or restaurant to take in the Spain v. Russia match, when we heard a loud cheer go up in unison across the city.
“Spain one, Russia nil,” I announced.
That echo sent chills down my spine, as did the wild celebration later that evening after Spain trounced Russia 4-1. Spain later went on to win the whole shebang in a 1-0 final over Germany.
Anyhoo, enough reminiscing.
If you’ve never visited Madrid, I’m going to provide you with an excellent raison: The IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit 2012.
From May 22-24, the IBM Smarter Commerce will be the most significant European gathering of marketing professionals in a single place, one filled with four days of learning, networking, and exploring best practices in the commerce realm.
If you need some convincing with your boss, download the “Top 5 Reasons to Attend.”
They go like this:
1. You get to network with Turbo.
2. You get to hang at the hotel bar with Turbo.
Oh, wait. That was a different list.
Anyway, once you preview the sessions with your boss you won’t have to do much convincing.
Here’s a couple of session titles that jumped right out at me: “Beyond Dashboards: Driving Marketing Returns With Digital Analytics.”
Or how about this one: “Tag Management Zen: Using Tags To Drive Innovation.”
Or even this: “Social Media & Mobile Marketing: Moving From Siloed to Intertwined.”
They’re going to have to drag me away kicking and screaming.
Here’s the bottom line page: Register here.
Before April 1, you only have to pay 895 Euros, at which point it goes up to 1195 Euros.
In the meantime, keep an eye out here on the Turbo blog, as I expect I’ll be passing along some travel tips (including restaurant and sightseeing recommendations) for Madrid.
IBM today is making some significant announcements in the business analytics realm that builds on the already $16+ billion the company has already invested in smarter intelligence over the last half decade.
Smarter business analytics and intelligence is an idea whose time has come. Even as the global economy strengthens organizations are faced with difficult choices: Many are still being asked to do more work with less — less people, less investment, less of everything — and so we find ourselves at a crossroads.
Do we continue to do business the way we’ve done so for the past half century, one that was generally based upon a presumption of generous abundance?
Or, do we begin to acknowledge instead an abundance of scarcity — in natural resources, in human talent, in financial capital — and instead start to work “smarter,” to use technology to help us better understand and make — or as may often be the case, “remake” — the world around us?
The Coming Information Gusher
As IBM CEO Ginny Rometty outlined in our recent annual report, “the world is uniquely positioned to deliver the benefits of a vast new natural resource — a gusher of data from both man-made and natural systems that can now be tapped to help businesses and institutions succeed in an increasingly complex and dynamic global economy.”
This “gusher” is one of the most exciting and game-changing phenomena to arrive on the scene since the advent of the microprocessor. But it’s arrival will be both opportunity and disruptor, and how organizations choose to take advantage of this new natural resource may well be the determining factor in shaping their destiny.
What problem in the world, you may be asking, are we trying to solve? The much better question may be, what problem in the world are we not trying to solve?
Why Are We Spending So Much To Get So Little?
The healthcare industry spends $250-300 billion on healthcare fraud, per year, some $650 million per day in the U.S. alone? Is that a gap that we can really afford to ignore in such a resource-constrained world?
Or how about the retail business, where, according to the IHL Group, we see $165 billion in missed sales each year due to company supplies being mismatched with the needs of customer demand. Is that money the retailing industry can really afford to leave on the storeroom table?
In a world where natural resources become increasingly scarce, even as the often unstructured data generated about the use and consumption of those resources is delivered in abundance, the ability to act and act quickly upon those insights will itself become a scarcity.
Those organizations are able to act on such information quickly and efficiently will find themselves in increasingly circumscribed company, and will soon be putting distance between themselves and their competition.
This is why today, in New York City at the IBM Smarter Analytics Leadership Summit, IBM is convening 100 business leaders to talk about the next big bets and emerging categories being driven into front office operations of global organizations.
As part of the forum, IBM is announcing new consulting services and software that marry the latest advances in predictive analytics with the power of big data. Specifically, we’re working to help address the highest-priority issues of C-suite decision makers — managing financial operations, decreasing fraud and improving customer relationships.
These new solutions will be delivered by IBM consultants, supported by applications management services as well as cloud offerings.
Our customers are the biggest proponents of this new direction. Check out the video below to hear how the University of California has reduced its cost of risk and saved nearly half a billion dollars over six years using IBM Smarter Analytics.
Almost from day one of 2012, I predicted it was going to be a stellar year for golf.
Don’t ask me how I know these things. They just come to me.
As I watched the lead ebb and flow for the Transitions tournament over the weekend — first with Padraig Harrington, then later, Ernie Els (who needed the win to NOT miss the Masters for the first time since 1994), then finally, in a four-way playoff, world number two Luke Donald…well, the Transitions was just another in a series of nail-biting golf tournaments.
For you non-golf fans reading this, who think golf on TV is about as exciting as watching paint dry, go back to watching “Doomsday Preppers.”
But for the golf fans…well, I could almost do the wave standing right downstairs in my living room.
Yes, I felt horrible for Ernie when he missed that short putt on 18 to keep him in the playoff, but heavens to Betsy, next thing you know we’ve got four stellar golfers in a playoff on 18: Luke Donald, Robert Garrigus, Jim Furyk, and South Korean upstart Sang Moon-Bae, who’s got one of the most beautiful swings I’ve seen in years.
Donald proved he’s the man to beat, and steals his first place world ranking back from Rory McIlroy nary two weeks after Rory took it from him.
Can you say “The Masters Is In Two Weeks?”
Unfortunately, I’m going to be away from civilization that weekend. I’ve got some guns to go shoot with the boys out in West Texas. But if anyone can think of a way for Turbo to keep up with the Masters in a far, remote, desolate West Texas location, I’m all ears. Smoke signals, anyone?
I’ll have it all recording on the DVR, you can be sure of that.
And in the meantime, we have Arnie’s Bay Hill Classic “Arnold Palmer Invitational” this week, where the top four golfers of the world do NOT include Tiger, Vijay, Phil or Ernie. None of them are even in the top 10!
Boy, how the sport of golf changes, and fast.
My hope is to see these four in a playoff down in Florida this weekend!