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Can IBM help with your entry to the BTYSTE Primary Science fair February 6, 2012

Posted by bodonovan in IBM, Smarter Buildings, Smarter Enegry, Smarter Healthcare, Smarter Transport.
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IBM has a strong culture of encouraging employees to volunteer to help organisations in their community. For example, you can visit this site to read what we did during our centennial year. One of our recently launched programs is a scheme where IBM employees help local schools do projects relating to IBM.s Smarter Planet initiative.

Some people think that young children will have trouble understanding what is involved with our Smarter Planet initiative, but we find that with a little assistance, they have no trouble in getting involved. To see how this might work, look at the video below which features  an interview with some pupils from Mount Sackville primary school about a Smarter Energy project that they carried out for this years primary science fair with assistance from IBM employees.

We would like to grow this type of partnership between IBM and local schools. If any schools are interested in doing a project for next years primary science fair and would like to get a member of IBM staff to come an help them with their project, please leave a comment on this blog and we will see if we can make arrangements. Naturally  we are more likely to be able to help if the IBM volunteers live near the school, but if you don’t ask you will never know.

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An IBM Volunteer’s BT Young Scientist Experience January 17, 2012

Posted by melaniecorr in IBM, open-source, Scratch, Watson.
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IBMer Gordon Keenan talks to us about Scratch and volunteering at the IBM stand last week at the BT Young Scientist’s Exhibition.

Gordon Keenan image

IBM Volunteer Gordon Keenan

My name is Gordon Keenan and I’m a Software Engineer on the IBM Lotus Live team. I have been working for IBM for the past year.

I got involved with the BT Young Scientist’s Exhibition through my colleague Sean Callanan who was promoting the Scratch program. Scratch is an application which teaches children how to program. I had come in contact with Scratch a few years ago so I was familiar with it. I thought there was promise in this application so I got involved.

Scratch is good for kids as it gives them the basis of programming and teaches them different mathematical concepts. It is good for young people to try programming at an early age. At the IBM stand, I observed how quickly some kids took an interest in learning about programming.

For the IBM stand at the BT Young Scientist Exhibition, we created a few different tasks with Scratch. One was to create a bubble, then using programming make the bubble float to the top and burst. There was also a similar task involving drawing a fish. We designed a more complex animation depicting a witch and a dragon but that was mostly to show the potential of what you could do with this program if you were into it.

I was at the BT Young Scientists competition once as a child. It has changed a lot since then. It is now much more technology focused. There seemed to be more of a focus on the physical sciences back then.

The IBM stand was great as it was promoting getting involved with technology from a young age. There were lots of different things to do. The RFID tags drew a large crowd to the stand where they could learn about what IBM does. The Watson game was very interesting.

I spent the day guiding young people through Scratch. I would show them the initial steps and most of them were able to take it from there and play around with the tool. Using Scratch meant we were also able to educate the kids on open source technology; that this program was free for all to download and use.

It is important for IBM to promote itself to young people because while everyone knows the name IBM, not many people know exactly what we do because we don’t sell consumer products. At the same time, IBM technology is all around them without them realising it.

Volunteering at the BT Young Scientist’s Exhibition is something different. I would definitely say to give it a try. It was a hectic day but it was great to see all the variety of activities going on.

Summer Internship like no other- Extreme Blue graduates share their experience January 11, 2012

Posted by melaniecorr in Extreme Blue Internship, IBM, Innovation, Smarter Cities.
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As well as our stand at the BT Young Scientist Exhibition, IBM is involved in many different projects encouraging young people to have an interest in science and technology. In this post, we’ll look at IBM’s Extreme Blue programme and talk to some Extreme Blue alumni who now work full time in IBM.

David, Jason and John of IBM Extreme Blue 2011

David, Jason and John, Extreme Blue alumni of 2011

Extreme Blue is IBM’s summer internship programme for Computer Science students approaching the end of their third level education. The programme runs in 15 IBM sites worldwide. When a student is selected for the programme, he or she becomes part of an Extreme Blue team. Each team’s goal is to develop a new product or service that addresses an existing market challenge. The teams work with leading technology which allows them to gain experience in areas that matter in the current technology market. Many Extreme Blue teams have the opportunity to patent new inventions they discover during their projects. To date, Extreme Blue teams have filed over 400 patents!

In 2011, there were three Irish Extreme Blue teams: two in IBM Dublin and one in IBM Cork. The teams spent the summer developing their different projects, receiving the encouragement and support of IBM staff. They presented their projects at several different IBM events during the course of the summer. In September, they traveled to Brussels where all the Extreme Blue teams showcased their final projects. One Irish team came second overall in Europe.

David, Jason and John have been working with IBM since completing the Extreme Blue internship in September 2011. Their other team mates returned to complete further education after the internship ended. I met with them to talk about how they heard about Extreme Blue and what thoughts they had on their experience.

Learning about Extreme Blue

David:
IBM came to my college, DCU, in January speaking about the Extreme Blue programme and I applied in January and went through the process”.

What’s good about Extreme Blue

John:
You learn more than just coding during the internship. You learn about the business mentality, the patent application process and how to think outside the box…”

Jason:
Being part of a team means that each member has responsibilities that matter”

David:
Everyone on the internship wants to be there and work hard unlike in college where some people may not be as interested.”

John:
During the Extreme Blue internship, you are actually working on a specific project of your creation rather than just doing menial tasks within a big company. It is our project as well which we work on from start to finish.”

Jason:
You have to make your own decisions and justify each decision. There is a great deal of creative freedom and responsibility. You also have a chance to select the technologies you want to use during the project.”

Moving from Extreme Blue to working in IBM

David:
There is a bit of a transition from Extreme Blue to regular IBM employee. The teams are bigger and more established. However, having made contacts and support during the internship makes the transition easier.”

Jason:
The Extreme Blue internship is definitely better than anything I have done before.”

For more information on the Extreme Blue programme, click here.

Facts and Figures about real world issues and smarter solutions from IBM January 10, 2012

Posted by Kristina O'Regan in IBM, Innovation, Intelligence, Smarter Buildings, Smarter Cities, Smarter Enegry, Smarter Healthcare, Smarter Transport, social-media, Uncategorized, Watson.
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Tag, you’re it! You can’t hide from RFID January 3, 2012

Posted by Kristina O'Regan in IBM, Innovation, Intelligence, Smarter Buildings, Smarter Cities, Smarter Enegry, Smarter Healthcare, Smarter Transport, Uncategorized.
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Visit the IBM stand and participate in our RFID activity – Tag your it!!

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is a tracking technology that is used to uniquely identify and track specific objects. RFID uses radio waves to transfer data from an electronic tag, called RFID tag or label to an RFID reader and this data is then used to identify the object the tag is attached to. The RFID tag is interrogated by an RFID reader for the purpose of identifying and tracking the object the tag is attached to. Some RFID tags can be read from several meters away and beyond the line of sight of the reader (e.g. inside a box). The application of bulk reading of tags enables an almost-parallel reading of tags where tens or hundreds of tags can be read parallel. The tag’s information is stored electronically in circuitry on the RFID tag. The RFID tag includes a small RF transmitter and receiver. An RFID reader transmits an encoded radio signal to interrogate the tag. The tag receives the message and responds with its identification information.  Many RFID tags do not use a battery. Instead, the tag uses the radio energy transmitted by the reader as its energy source to broadcast the tags data.

Definition of RFID->

Traceability and types of RFID->

IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative, adds intelligence to everything from industrial supply chains to municipal traffic systems, and takes advantage of the increasing numbers of RFID tags and sensors that are rapidly being added to physical infrastructure. “This combination of real-time data, location-based data and domain-based analytics is very powerful.”

Read more->

Examples where RFID is being used:

Smarter Healthcare and RFID

Everyone has heard about tragic wrong-site, wrong-patient and wrong-procedure surgeries. Using an RFID tag attached to a patient, a healthcare provider can now verify the correct patient, procedure and site – prior to the start of any invasive surgery.

Patients may also be tracked in a hospital real-time. This can allow patients requiring special attention to be tracked continuously. Healthcare providers can use the RFID system to easily locate patient and increase their productivity on rounds.

  • Ensures greater patient safety and accurate patient identification at the point-of-care
  • Improves medication administration helping to reduce medication errors
  • Provides asset tracking capabilities to reduce operational, inventory and labour costs
  • Provides a simple tracking solution of medical supplies from the factory to storage shelves, enabling efficient inventory management

IBM is now leading the way in the development and integration of custom RFID solutions to provide dramatic benefits for healthcare providers, caregivers and patients – as well as healthcare insurers, pharmaceutical and medical manufacturers.

Find out more->

Smarter Parking:

IBM and Streetline, Inc. are collaborating to help cities of all sizes reduce congestion, better manage parking availability and resources and put information at people’s fingertips to find parking faster.

IBM is partnering with parking technology firm Streetline to create a RFID enabled solution.  Their solution is embedding magnetic sensors within each parking space. This sensor can detect whether a car is above it or not. RFID technology then relays this information to a reader/repeater. These repeaters are placed on light poles and other stationary objects throughout the designated city area. The information is then transformed into a usable format and sent to end users.

This system correlates with Streetline’s Iphone application “Parker” which will graphically display where parking is available. The system can also be used in parking garages both to measure how long a car has been there, as well as directing newcomers to available spots.

Parking seems to be the new trend as a similar RFID enabled product rolls out for corporate parking lots. A RFID tag carried by the employee can be read from within the car and will open the front gate. A screen will also direct the newcomer to an available parking spot. This system, however, allows the tag to be taken with the employee. So if they are coming in the early morning with minimal lighting, RFID enabled lights will guide them to the building. If they cannot remember where the car was left, they can hold the tag near a screen (by the main entrance) and be shown the exact location of their vehicle.

Read more->

Press Release->

“Parkville”

Washable RFID Tags track linen in hotels

Linen Technology Tracking and software specialist Fluensee. The intelligence of the product, called “Linentracker,” uses LTT’s SMARTtags and runs on Fluensee’s supply chain management platform.

Why the Big Brother approach? Simple: in the hospitality industry, one of the largest expenses of room occupancy is the growing cost of linen supplies — but until now, hotels are in the dark with regard to where those assets are, both when they’re in the hands of customers and when they’re being laundered by outside vendors.

Here’s how it works: each asset is scanned and monitored to and from the laundry, in and out of linen closets, at various check-in or check-out stations, down laundry chutes and even at pool and beach kiosks. AssetTrack monitors everything in real time, then offers insights via its reporting and analytics engine.

Learn more->

Smarter Food:
Technology is shaping how it grows, how it tastes and how it gets to your plate.
The food traceability framework from IBM takes an instrumented approach to your supply chain, as each asset is assigned a unique identifier. This could be a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag assigned to an animal, a barcode assigned to a package or an ID that represents the acre on which a crop was grown.

Find out more->

What is Watson? December 28, 2011

Posted by bodonovan in IBM, Innovation, Watson.
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One of the exhibits at our stand this year will relate to the Watson system which has been making a big splash in the media. If you read some of these articles and wondered what all of the fuss is about this blog post attempts to explain what Watson is and why we thought it worth including on our stand.

In recent years, IBM researchers have made great advances in building question answering systems and they decided to build a system which could take on a high profile challenge that the general public could understand to prove how far the technology has advanced. They gave their system the nickname Watson after Thomas J. Watson the founder of IBM. The target they chose was to compete in the Jeopardy! game show because:

  1. This game show is very popular in the Unites States and has been a popular show over several decades. As a result most members of the public know the rules of the game and appreciate how difficult it would be for a machine to compete in. Unfortunately the game is not shown on television in Ireland so people might need to check out the Wikipedia page about the game to learn about it.
  2. Unlike a traditional quiz where contestants have to provide and answer to a clear question, Jeopardy! contestants are presented with answers and in order to win they must know what is the corresponding question. Sometimes there are several questions which to which the same answer could be given and contestants are expected to use common sense to judge which question is the one being looked for (e.g. if the answer was “5,280”, the question they want would be “How many feet in a mile?” and not “What is 330 multiplied by 16?”). Teaching common sense to computers is notoriously difficult.
  3. Watson bases its reasoning on a huge bank of information including sources such as Wikipedia. Much of this information is written in normal English text which can often be ambiguous and contradictory. In the Jeopardy! game you lose points for giving an incorrect question, so Watson needs to calculate how confident it is that it has found the correct question before pressing the buzzer.

IBM was delighted when Watson beat two past champions in a televised live game. However, we did not invest all this money simply to develop a system capable of winning a TV game show. We believe that the technical advances that we made as part of the Watson project can be applied to other real world problems and we have established a new division that is currently building such systems. Part of this team is based in IBM’s research lab on the outskirts of Dublin and perhaps some of the Young Scientists might work in this division in the future.

If you are interested in learning more, you can view the video below or even better you can come visit our stand and try out the system yourself and ask our staff questions about how it works.

What is Scratch? Find out more at our IBM Stand at BTYSTE December 20, 2011

Posted by Kristina O'Regan in IBM, Innovation, open-source, Uncategorized.
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What is Scratch?

Scratch is an application that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and share your creations on the web.

As young people create and share Scratch projects, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.

Scratch provides a simple drawing tool to allow you create characters, backgrounds or anything you can imagine.  It also provides simple drag and drop programming tools to allow you make you characters come alive.

Find out more about “Scratch” by visiting their website->

60 IBMer’s preparing for BTYSTE 2012 December 14, 2011

Posted by Kristina O'Regan in IBM, Innovation, Intelligence, Watson.
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IBM in Ireland are gearing up for BTYSE 2012 with 60 IBM volunteers ready to meet visitors at our stand.  The theme of our stand is “The Evolution of Technology.”

We are celebrating 100 years of innovation! IBM is constantly challenging itself to do what many think is impossible. This vision is leading our engineers and scientists to invent many of the building blocks of modern business and Information Technology. IBM has created 100 Icons of Progress which you can read about on our Centennial portal.  IBMer’s have also marked our centennial through a “Celebration of Service” by volunteering and giving back to their communities around the globe.

Visit us at Stand 26B and see how technology is evolving from those early innovations to ‘Watson’ – a scientific breakthrough in solving ‘natural language’ questions and winner of the Jeopardy! a U.S. quiz show.

IBM today is using this technology to make our world work smarter, by connecting the systems that run our world, and analysing the data from those systems, we have new ways of looking at information and can make smarter decisions as a result in healthcare, education and much more.

To find out more about IBM technology, create a QR code, develop a character using ‘Scratch’ , see RFID in action or to pit your wits against Watson visit on us Stand 26B.

Be sure to check our blog for the latest updates from guest bloggers and will fill you in on more details about our stand activities as we prepare for the big event.  Also follow us on:

@IBM_in_Ireland

IBM in Ireland Facebook page