I’ve spent the better part of this week trekking between IBM’s Somers office (an interesting building designed by I.M. Pei, the force behind the last addition to the Louvre) and The T.J. Watson Research Center. IBM has research labs scattered around the world, but much of innovation history is housed in the research facilities of Hawthorne and Yorktown, where many significant innovations have occurred, from the relational database to the chess champion Deep Blue.
The net of my meetings were primarily in the services and computer science domains where we find many technologies for alphaWorks. This visit reaffirmed a strong focus on SaaS delivery, and projects in areas such as information analysis, semantics, speech recognition and visualization.
I was most interested in learning about some projects that have the potential for great impact, including the Genographic Project, a collaboration with the National Geographic Society to gather one of the largest collections of DNA samples in order to map how humankind populated the planet, as well as IBM’s collaboration with chocolate giant Mars on the genetic quest for better chocolate. Sadly, there were no free samples to be had.