After practice rounds and plenty of hype, Watson, IBM's latest supercomputer, stepped up to the podium to take on two of Jeopardy's greatest champions: Ken Jennings, who won 74 straight rounds of Jeopardy en route to becoming a pop culture icon, and Brad Rutter, who netted more money than any other contestant while winning the three of the biggest Jeopardy tournaments (defeating Ken Jennings in the process).
How did it go? Well, the tournament isn't done yet, since it's a three-day battle between the contestants. But after the first day, Watson has won $5000, tying it for first place with Brad Rutter. Ken Jennings is in third place, with $2000. How can a computer do this, you ask?
Before reading this, take a moment to stare at your computer. Check out the crisp, high definition picture you're gazing at right now, as you hum along at a stable and steady broadband speed. We forget sometimes how far we've come, so as a reminder, we decided to dedicate this gallery to 25 of the most influential machines in PC history. Enjoy!
IBM collects patents nearly as fast as the file clerk at the U.S. Patent and Trademark office can process them. In fact, the USPTO granted Big Blue an all-time high of 5,896 new U.S. patents in 2010, positioning IBM as the No. 1 patent assignee for the 18th consecutive year. In second place is Samsung, which added 4,551 patents to its portfolio last year. Now these two busy bodies will be able to license each other's patent portfolios after coming to undisclosed terms on a new patent cross-license agreement.
Currently at the technology preview stage, the new cloud-based office productivity suite will square off against comparable products like Google Apps, Microsoft Office Web Apps, Zoho Office Suite and Oracle Cloud Office. It will be widely available in the second half of 2011.
“LotusLive Symphony is new set of social collaboration tools in the cloud that allows you and your customers or colleagues to work on documents, spreadsheets and presentations - together. You can co-edit, organize and manage the creation process in real-time, using LotusLive Symphony's Web-based tools,” the company announced on the official Lotus Symphony.
IBM is taking the American attitude of 'Go big or go home' over to China where it plans to open Asia's largest cloud computing data center, the company announced on Tuesday.
"The data center offers the world-class infrastructure capabilities and advanced network based services to support the business growth of our clients," said Madam Zhou Chaonan, Chairman, Range Technology Development Co., Ltd., which is collaborating with IBM on the project. "This initiative plays a critical role in the economic development of China in light of the pressing demand for managed hosting in the areas of cloud computing and mobile devices."
IBM says the new data center will take up more than 620,000 square meters (about 6.1 million square feet) and will be built to IBM specifications and international green building standards. It will offer services like data backup, disaster recovery, and server leases.
In February, the robot apocalypse will begin. Well, not the kind with lasers and terminators, but that's when a computer will compete in an official game of Jeopardy against the top two human trivia masters, Ken Jennings, and Brad Rutter. In a recent practice round, IBM's Watson computer was able to best both Jennigns and Rutter as the trio blazed though three categories. Engadget has the video right here.
Watson announced its answers with the cold precision we would expect from a computer operated killing mach- er… trivia robot. None of the competitors answered a question wrong, and the final score after about three minutes of play was Watson in the lead with $4,400, Ken had $3,400, and Brad was at $1,200. IBM was showing a decision graph for each of the questions as Watson searched for the answer. The machine was right on all questions, but was not always able to buzz in before the humans were able to twitch their soft, fleshy thumbs.
The Watson trivia-bot is analyzing each question using thousands of algorithms to assess both comprehension and answer formulation. These are all run in parallel, and the resulting data is sorted out on the other end. Watson learns over time which algorithms work best when, and that's the secret to catching on to the vagaries of Jeopardy-style questions. Will you be watching the final showdown? We will.
IFI CLAIMS Patent Services, a division of Fairview Research which tracks patent grants, today announced a ranking of global companies based on the number of U.S. patents in 2010.
Coming as no big surprise, IBM topped the list for its 18th consecutive year. IBM recorded 5,896 patents in 2010 and became the first company to ever break the 5,000-patent mark in a single year. Samsung missed the mark by just 449 patents, while Microsoft took third place with 3.094 patents, up 6.5 percent from 2009.
Some would say that the number of patents recorded in 2010 is just another sign that the whole system is broken and setup to support patent trolls, but IFI sees it another way.
"The tremendous increase in patent issues in 2010 suggests that so far the economy doesn't appear to have slowed patent flow significantly in the U.S.," said Darlene Slaughter, general manager of IFI CLAIMS Patent Services. "Another important factor is the stepped up effort of the USPTO to improve turnaround times and its five-year strategic plan to increase efficiencies and reduce pendency. The bottom line: there is still a backlog of patents pending but the number of grants continues to grow even after a period of economic downturn."
The total number of U.S. utility patents in 2010 came out to 219,614, up 31 percent from 2009, the biggest annual increase ever, IFI says.
The guys and gals wearing lab coats over at IBM are jazzed about a new chip technology that integrates electrical and optical devices on the same piece of silicon, paving the way for chips to communicate by sending pulses of light rather than electrical signals. This will ultimately lead to a technological hat trick involving smaller, faster, and more power efficient chips, IBM says.
It's called CMOS Integrated Silicon Nanophotonics, and according to IBM, the new technology represents over a decade of development and could enable over 10X improvement in integration density over what's currently possible with today's manufacturing tricks.
"The development of the Silicon Nanophotonics technology brings the vision of on-chip optical interconnections much closer to reality," said Dr. T.C. Chen, vice president, Science and Technology, IBM Research. "With optical communications embedded into the processor chips, the prospect of building power-efficient computer systems with performance at the Exaflop level is one step closer to reality."
One of the best aspects of this new technology is that it doesn't require a hefty investment into new assembly lines. IBM says it requires no new or special tooling, and is able to be produced on the front-end of a standard CMOS manufacturing line.
The development of PC display technologies over the last 30 years has taken us through many chapters: from IBM, the creator of the IBM PC, pioneering color display technologies (and ceding development to third-parties ATI, 3dfx, and nVidia); to the quest to provide both sharp text and colorful graphics; through the ever-increasing size of displays; to LCD flat panels overtaking TV-type CRTs; the move to 3D graphics rendering and, currently, to 3D viewing. Here's a brief history of these and other milestones in PC graphics history.
Last year, IBM announced that it had built a computer that exceeds the neural capacity of the cortex of a cat.
My first thought on hearing this news was that the world does not need a computer that is snotty, stubborn, and coughs up hairballs on the couch. (I already have a computer like that, including the hairballs—one of these days, I just gotta clean the fan.) But fortunately, that was not IBM’s goal.
That same press release went on to say that IBM eventually wants to build a computer that simulates and emulates the abilities of a human brain for sensation, perception, action, interaction and cognition.
And once they accomplish that, why stop there? If you can build a machine that matches the cortical ability of a human, why not keep going and build a machine that exceeds that by ten times, or a hundred, or as far as you can go before the limitations of the physical universe kick in?