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What's next?

Scientists from IBM's global R&D labs show the future at CeBIT 2011

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What's happening on a smarter planet?Hanover, Germany, 1 Mar 2011—The world of IT is looking to Hanover, Germany, this week, where CeBIT, the largest information technology show, presents the latest, the hottest and most significant IT solutions and trends. At the IBM booth, IBM Research and Development takes center stage providing a glimpse of what's happening next on a smarter planet.

IBM Chairman Sam Palmisano welcomed German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the IBM booth on her traditional opening tour over the exhibition grounds. Underpinning the company's leadership in innovation, he presented her with a model of a liquid-cooled 3D chip stack — one of this year's R&D highlights.

Moore's Law goes 3D

To keep Moore's Law on track, IBM scientists are exploring the use of three-dimensional chips that could shrink the computing power of a refrigerator-sized supercomputer down to the size of a sugar cube. Three-dimensional integration of chips, where the chips are physically stacked like pancakes, presents one of the most promising approaches to significantly boost the performance and energy efficiency of computer systems in the future. With initial test devices, scientists routed water through the individual stacks or layers using tiny channels measuring only about 50 microns wide. A three-dimensional chip stack — which generates several times more heat than a single processor on almost the same amount of space — can be efficiently cooled using water and not air to reduce energy consumption and alleviate the burden on the planet's aging energy grids.

Face-to-face with WATSON

Presenting an entirely new frontier in information science is IBM's Watson advanced Q&A computing system, which recently proved its capabilities in understanding natural language in the US quizshow Jeopardy!. At CeBIT, visitors got a chance to challenge Watson in a demonstration game and learn more about the potential of the technology from the scientists involved. Watson's ability to analyze the meaning and context of human language, and quickly process information to find precise answers can assist decision makers, such as physicians and nurses, to access important knowledge and facts buried within huge volumes of information, and offer answers they may not have considered to help validate their own ideas or hypotheses.

For your health

How can you become more involved in managing your own health? Introducing the IBM Patient Empowerment System from IBM scientists in Haifa. The Patient Empowerment System is a new online health portal where individuals can manage their clinical data for all healthcare needs, including interaction with physicians and other patients. The system is capable of integrating data immediately from a vast range of sources, including third-party health portals, hospitals’ electronic record systems, medical sensors, PubMed sites, and more. With the IBM Patient Empowerment System, individuals can become more involved in managing their own medical profiles — including advanced services for personalized medical alerts, social data, genetic insights, and treatment recommendations.

IBM scientists from California are also presenting advanced health analytics to unlock the knowledge contained in electronic health records to help physicians in their diagnosis and to evaluate the best treatment for a patient. The technology, called Advanced Analytics for Information Management (AALIM), was developed to analyze various types of medical information, including health reports, EKGs and medical images to identify similar patient records to provide diagnostic decision support. Decision support tools such as AALIM can help physicians make more informed diagnoses in the future, thereby leading to improved quality of care for patients.

Smarter mobility

Vehicles are being equipped to an increasingly larger degree with electronics and software to make driving safer and more comfortable. Future vehicle functions will use information from the environment and also exchange information with added value services from the Internet “cloud”. IBM supports these vehicle value-added services in the “cloud” with an IT solution that enables and ensures secure transmission of vehicle data. In addition to preventing vehicle failures, data can be analyzed as well with this IT solution using the collected vehicle data.

Connecting to your smart home

IBM is collaborating with business partner Shaspa Research Ltd. to connect devices in the home to a cloud-based service infrastructure. The Shaspa Bridge, a small box that acts as a universal translator based on IBM embedded software, enables the interaction between sensors, appliances and IBM’s cloud-based services. The CeBIT demo showcases a number of applications, including smart management of electronic devices and energy management.

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