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  1. IBM cancels its biggest event of the year over coronavirus fears IBM CEO Ginni Rometti IBM has canceled its biggest developer conference of the year over coronavirus concerns. IBM Think was set to be held in San Francisco in May, but it will instead it will hold a digital event. IBM also placed restrictions on employee travel, including limits on domestic work travel and a ban on attending events with more than 1,000 people. In a statement, IBM said: "The health of IBM's clients, employees and partners is our primary concern. In light of global precautions for the COVID-19 Coronavirus, and building upon recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), IBM is taking a new approach to its signature events and adopting new travel policies." As the coronavirus continues to spread around the globe, IBM is canceling its biggest developer conference, limiting employee travel, and restricting employees from participating in events with more than 1,000 attendees. IBM's client and developer conference IBM Think, which brought 30,000 attendees last year, was supposed to take place May 5-7 in San Francisco. Instead, IBM announced Wednesday that it will now hold a digital event with "live streamed content, interactive sessions and certifications and locally hosted events, which will highlight IBM's technology and industry expertise for developers and clients without the risk of travel." IBM is also placing new travel restrictions on employees through the end of March. IBM plans to suspend all domestic travel for internal meetings, and it plans to cut back on international travel to only "business-critical situations when virtual methods are insufficient." IBM is still allowing domestic travel for work with clients, although employees are encouraged to hold meetings virtually. In addition, if IBM employees have traveled recently to any restricted locations, they must inform their manager and self-quarantine for 14 days after their trip. "The health of IBM's clients, employees and partners is our primary concern," IBM said in a blog post. "In light of global precautions for the COVID-19 Coronavirus, and building upon recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), IBM is taking a new approach to its signature events and adopting new travel policies." IBM is also withdrawing its attendance in the HIMSS health care conference in Orlando next week. Recently, there has been a false rumor spreading around about an IBM employee in Austin who has coronavirus, and IBM has been working to assure employees that it's not true. IBM's cancellation and new rules highlights how COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has been causing widespread disruption and uncertainty for major tech companies. The outbreak has infected more than 95,000 people and killed more than 3,250, mostly in China. Companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon have taken measures in response to the spread of coronavirus, such as canceling conferences, encouraging employees to work remotely, and conducting interviews virtually. Source
  2. Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM are under pressure to follow Google and drop gender labels like 'man' and 'woman' from their AI Google's API no longer uses gendered labels for photos Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon are under pressure to stop using gender labels such as "man" or "woman" for their facial recognition and AI services. Google announced its AI tool would stop adding gender classification tags in mid-February, instead tagging images of people with neutral terms such as "person." Joy Buolamwini, a researcher who found AI tools misclassified people's gender, told Business Insider: "There is a choice... I would encourage all companies to reexamine the identity labels they are using as demographic markers." Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM are under pressure to stop automatically applying gendered labels such as "man" or "woman" from images of people, after Google announced in February it would stop using such tags. All four companies offer powerful artificial intelligence tools that can classify objects and people in an image. The tools can variously describe famous landmarks, facial expressions, logos and gender, and have many applications including content moderation, scientific research, and identity verification. Google said it would drop gender labels from its Cloud Vision API image classification service last week, saying that it wasn't possible to infer someone's gender by appearance and that such labels could exacerbate bias. Now the AI researchers who helped bring about the change say Amazon's Rekognition, IBM's Watson, and Microsoft's Azure facial recognition should follow suit. Joy Buolamwini, a computer scientist at MIT and expert in AI bias, told Business Insider: "Google's move sends a message that design choices can be changed. With technology it is easy to think some things cannot be changed or are inevitable. This isn't necessarily true." Microsoft's AI continues to classify people in images by binary gender Source
  3. Infosys joins hands with IBM to launch industry-specific cloud services for businesses Indian IT services company Infosys has teamed up with tech giant IBM to help businesses go full bore with digital transformation through industry-specific cloud services. Infosys will offer clients across sectors, including regulated industries such as financial services, insurance and healthcare, access to a portfolio of open source offerings on IBM's public cloud platform, the companies said in a statement. Bengaluru-based Infosys will be the first so-called global system integrator to join IBM's new public cloud platform. IBM is looking to partner service providers such as Infosys to help bring its public cloud services to businesses in sectors such as financial services and insurance, among others. It has become imperative for businesses to invest in cloud computing as transactions and services are increasingly becoming digital. The portfolio of open source offerings is housed under Red Hat, which IBM snapped up for $33 billion in July 2019 — its biggest acquisition — to boost it cloud strategy. Cloud business is one of the fastest growing verticals for IBM and contributed about $21.2 billion for the year-ended December 2019. Explaining the rationale behind the collaboration, Bob Lord, Senior Vice President, Cognitive Applications and Ecosystems, IBM, said, “As businesses today continue to migrate critical workloads to the public cloud, they are demanding the highest levels of security and control to ensure their data is not compromised." Source
  4. Arvind Krishna’s Elevation At IBM May Be India’s Gain, But It’s A Loss For Gender Equality As Indians beam with pride over Arvind Krishna joining the ranks of Silicon Valley’s crème de la crème, another group has a reason to rue. The newly-appointed chief of IBM adds to the long list of Indian-origin CEOs in America, including Microsoft’s Satya Nadella and Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai. However, he replaces Ginny Rometty—one of a handful of female leaders who have climbed to the top of the tech ladder. Her exit now leaves just 34 female CEOs among Fortune 500 companies, many of whom underperform on the gender-balance front. Take Apple, for instance, where just 33% of the staff are women. When it comes to leadership positions, this figure drops to a mere 29% at the Cupertino-based phonemaker. Facebook, which has oft made chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg the face of its brand, rejigged its executive teams in May 2018 and ended up having mostly white males in roles overseeing products and engineering. Google fares a little better. Although the internet giant’s workforce is 70% male, its management team, with 46% women, is among the most gender-equal. In fact, just over half of startups have at least one woman in an executive position, and less than half have one on their boards, according to Silicon Valley Bank (pdf), which surveyed 1,377 technology and health startups in the US, UK, Canada, and China in 2019. This crippling lack of women in senior roles stems from their dearth among entrepreneurs, experts say. Only 28% of Silicon Valley startups have female founders. For good reason…or not In the case of Krishna, his role in the acquisition and integration of the open-source software provider Red Hat in June 2019 was a major driving force behind the executive shuffle. The purchase was the biggest in Big Blue’s century-plus history. “Rometty is passing the baton to new leadership that is an integral part of that acquisition,” said Craig Lowery, vice-president analyst at Gartner, referring to Krishna and Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat who was named IBM’s new president. Krishna’s elevation is meritorious since “he is both a technologist and executive talent—the right blend for the new IBM,” David Bahnsen, chief investment officer at California-based The Bahnsen Group, told Quartz. While in Rometty’s case, the switch has more to do with skill sets than unsavoury dealings, that isn’t always the case. For example, last April, Microsoft’s women said the company was a toxic place for them to work. They complained of discrimination and harassment. The “bro culture” is insufferable in some cases. A March 2019 study by IBM itself revealed that advancing women is not a priority at almost one in eight organisations. Yet, there is not much of a concerted effort to retain the gender diversity. The fewer women there are, the more problems they will face. Role models are few and far between. The lack of women in leadership roles certainly has an impact on the gender and racial pay gap that exists today, Lisa Crooms-Robinson, professor of law and associate dean for academic affairs at Howard University, told CNBC Make It. Gender parity also makes business sense—more women in corporate roles drive higher revenues besides making better female-oriented innovations from health-monitoring bras to fertility care. More women in tech may also mean less mishaps like Fitbit’s unreliable period tracker. Source
  5. IBM's Ginni Rometty era is ending. Rometty is stepping down as CEO of IBM in April after an eight-year tenure that saw the 108-year-old tech company go through a difficult transition to the cloud-computing era, the company said Thursday. It was her decision to leave, and the news comes at the conclusion of a long CEO search, according to a person familiar with the company. She will be replaced as chief executive by Arvind Krishna, IBM's senior vice president of cloud. That same day, Jim Whitehurst, the CEO of IBM's Red Hat subsidiary, will become president of IBM. IBM bought Red Hat for $34 billion in a deal announced in 2018 that closed in July. After the transition, Rometty will remain in her role as executive chairman of the company through the end of the year, after which she'll leave IBM entirely, ending an era that began when she first joined as a systems analyst in 1981. CEO Ginni Rometty and Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst "Arvind is the right CEO for the next era at IBM," Rometty said in a statement. "He is a brilliant technologist who has played a significant role in developing our key technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud, quantum computing and blockchain. He is also a superb operational leader, able to win today while building the business of tomorrow." Rometty praised Krishna's role in boosting the tech giant's position in the cloud, the trend that allowed businesses to set up their networks on web-based platforms run by the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. The cloud made it possible for enterprises to scale down or even abandon private data centers, which hurt the business of traditional enterprise-tech players like IBM. IBM shares have been declining as the company struggles to adapt to the shift in the enterprise-tech market, even amid the rise of the dominant Amazon Web Services and the reemergence of Microsoft as a major cloud player. From $213 a share in 2013, IBM shares have slid to about $140, closing at $137 on Thursday. But IBM has been focusing a newer trend called hybrid cloud, in which businesses maintain networks on public-cloud platforms while keeping huge chunks of their data and applications in in-house data centers. Rometty and Krishna have said they expect IBM to dominate what they predict will be a $1 trillion market. The acquisition of Red Hat last year, which Krishna spearheaded, was supposed to be a key part of this strategy. Based on IBM's most recent earnings report, buying Red Hat is paying off for Big Blue. IBM's revenue had been slipping, but it posted a modest gain at $21.78 billion earlier this month. That was thanks in part to Red Hat revenue, which exceeded $1 billion in the fourth quarter, up 24% year over year. "Arvind has grown IBM's cloud and cognitive software business and led the largest acquisition in the company's history," Rometty said. "He is well-positioned to lead IBM and its clients into the cloud and cognitive era." The announcement sent IBM's stock up 5%, or about $6, in after-hours trading. It also ends speculation over Rometty's departure and her replacement. Whitehurst was seen as a possible successor given his role at Red Hat, which is expected to be a critical component of IBM's hybrid-cloud offensive. Rometty called Whitehurst "a seasoned leader who has positioned Red Hat as the world's leading provider of open source enterprise IT software solutions and services, and has been quickly expanding the reach and benefit of that technology to an even wider audience as part of IBM." "In Arvind and Jim, the Board has elected a proven technical and business-savvy leadership team," Rometty said. Sidenote: sounds like Redhat done took over IBM with IBM's money ! Source
  6. IBM said its cloud and cognitive software revenue -- which includes Red Hat -- was up 8.7% to $7.2 billion. IBM published its fourth quarter financial results on Tuesday, with a full quarter of Red Hat now in the fold. The company is showing signs of a return to growth, although year-over-year revenues were up just slightly for the quarter and still down overall for 2019. For Q4, IBM reported a non-GAAP EPS of $4.71 on revenue of $21.8 billion, up 0.1% year-over-year. Analysts were expecting earnings of $4.68 per share on revenue of $21.64 billion. For the full FY 2019, non-GAAP earnings per share came to $12.81 on revenues of $77.1 billion, down 3.1 year-over-year. The fiscal results are in line with analyst estimates. Shares of IBM were up nearly 5% after hours. "We ended 2019 on a strong note, returning to overall revenue growth in the quarter, led by accelerated cloud performance," said IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty. "Looking ahead, this positions us for sustained revenue growth in 2020 as we continue to help our clients shift their mission-critical workloads to the hybrid cloud and scale their efforts to become a cognitive enterprise." Cloud and cognitive software revenue -- which includes Red Hat -- was up 8.7% to $7.2 billion. Red Hat specifically contributed $573 million to IBM's cloud and software sales. Meanwhile, systems revenue climbed 16% led by the IBM Z, IBM's smaller footprint mainframe that utilizes design thinking. Storage systems showed growth but technology services revenue in the quarter fell 4.8%. Global business services sales were down 0.6%. IBM said cloud revenue was $21.2 billion for fiscal 2019, up 11%. Going forward, a goal for IBM will be capitalizing on the expected growth in enterprise software investments. In its latest IT spending forecast, research firm Gartner suggests that software will be the main driver for spending over 2020, reaching 10.5 percent growth. As for the outlook, IBM said it is on track to deliver non-GAAP earnings of at least $13.35 a share with free cash flow of about $12.5 billion for fiscal 2020. "After completing the acquisition of Red Hat, and with strong free cash flow and disciplined financial management, we significantly deleveraged in the second half," said James Kavanaugh, IBM 's chief financial officer. Source
  7. Microsoft highlights historical tech innovations, including the Windows Subsystem for Linux, that were enabled in the same way Google used Java APIs. IBM, Microsoft and other tech companies have filed court documents in support of Google ahead of the Supreme Court of the US hearing over whether copyright applies to software application programming interfaces. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the Google vs Oracle case in March, after the court last year agreed to reconsider a favorable decision towards Oracle by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in 2014. The court reversed a federal court jury decision that Google's use of Java API packages in its Android operating system constituted "fair use". Google filed its opening brief on January 6 and since then dozens of stakeholders, including IBM, Microsoft, and Firefox-maker Mozilla, have filed a total of 27 'friend of the court' briefs outlining opposition to the idea that software APIs should be copyrightable. "Computer interfaces are not copyrightable. That simple, yet powerful principle has been a cornerstone of technological and economic growth for over 60 years," IBM opens up in its filing. "Not once, until this case, has a Court of Appeals held that software interfaces are protected by copyright separate and apart from the code embodying the implementation of those interfaces. This is not because this principle is fringe; it is because it has always been accepted – based on legal precedent dating back 140 years." Microsoft said the Court of Appeals decision "takes an unduly narrow view of fair use that elevates functional code to the same level of copyright protection as the creative expression in a novel". Microsoft added that the court also applied a "problematically narrow standard" for evaluating 'transformative use' of functional code. "While Google used the software interfaces at issue for the same purpose as in Oracle's Java platform – allowing a program to invoke computer functionalities – it incorporated them into a completely different platform that opened new possibilities for programmers and consumers," wrote Microsoft. The company argues that open APIs are critical to interoperable systems, spanning documents, Internet browsers, the cloud, the Internet of Things, and smart home products. It explains the implications of companies being able to copyright APIs in a way that non-technical judges may easily understand. "If, as in computing's early days, every device had its own proprietary interface, one could never add a product outside a particular vendor's offerings to the system. But in today's interoperable ecosystem, consumers generally can choose smart products based on their merits and functionality, without worrying about compatibility with their existing system," wrote Microsoft. Microsoft details major historical examples where developers have repurposed functions in the same way that Google used Java APIs, pointing to Compaq, Dell, and others' use of functional elements of IBM's PC BIOS APIs in the 1980s to create an ecosystem of IBM-compatible PCs. It goes on to highlight the open-source WINE program that developers used in the 1990s to run Windows applications on Linux machines. "Years later, Microsoft created 'the inverse of WINE', reimplementing the structure of certain Linux APIs to create the Windows Subsystem for Linux, a program that allowed Linux programs to run on Windows," Microsoft explains. Microsoft's points are aligned with recent comments by Google's chief legal officer, Kent Walker. "Open interfaces between programs are the building blocks of many of the services and products we use today, as well as of technologies we haven't yet imagined," wrote Walker. "An Oracle win would upend the way the technology industry has always approached the important issue of software interfaces. It would for the first time grant copyright owners a monopoly power to stymie the creation of new implementations and applications. And it would make it harder and costlier for developers and startups to create more products for people to use." Source
  8. Autonomous ‘Mayflower’ research ship will use IBM AI tech to cross the Atlantic in 2020 A fully autonomous ship called the ‘Mayflower’ will make its voyage across the Atlantic Ocean next September, to mark the 400-year anniversary of the trip of the first Mayflower, which was very much not autonomous. It’s a stark way to dive home just how much technology has advanced in the last four centuries, but also a key demonstration of autonomous seafaring technology, put together by marine research and exploration organization ProMare and powered by IBM technology. The autonomous Mayflower will be decked out with solar panels, as well as diesel and wind turbines to provide it with its propulsion power, as it attempts the 3,220 mile journey from Plymouth in England, to Plymouth in Massachusetts in the U.S. The trip, if successful, will be among the first for full-size seafaring vessels navigation the Atlantic on their own, which ProMare is opening will open the doors to other research-focused applications of autonomous seagoing ships. To support that use case, it’ll have research pods on board while it makes its trip. Three to be specific, developed by academics and researchers at the University of Plymouth, who will aim to run experiments in areas including maritime cybersecurity, sea mammal monitoring and even addressing the challenges of ocean-borne microplastics. IBM has provided technical support for both the research and the navigation aspects of the mission, including providing its PowerAI vision technology backed by its Power Systems severs, which will work with deep leearing models that it’s developing in partnership with ProMare to help with avoidance of obstacles and hazards at sea. It’ll use RADAR, as well as LIDAR and optical cameras to accomplish all this. The system is designed to use both local and remote processing, meaning devices on the ship will be able to operate without connection at the edge, and then check back in periodically with HQ when conditions allow for processing via nodes located at either shore. This is a super cool project that could change the way we research the ocean, deep lakes and other aquatic environments. The plan is to also build VR and AR tools for essentially ‘boarding’ the autonomous Mayflower while it’s on its trip, so stay tuned for more on how you can get a closer look at the project as it prepares for its run next year. Source: Autonomous ‘Mayflower’ research ship will use IBM AI tech to cross the Atlantic in 2020
  9. IBM has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Zillow, claiming that the real estate company used key parts of IBM technology on its website, according to reports. IBM said the parts of Zillow’s site that estimate home values, as well as the way it does searches, are part of IBM’s patented technology. The computer giant has sued a number of other well-known companies in patent disputes as well. There are seven patents named in the lawsuit, including one about Zillow using computing power to figure out how desirable a geographic area is to customers, and another one about searches fitting inside of a screen. One of Zillow’s features, called Zestimate, gives estimates on how much a home is worth, and the search function is heavily reliant on maps. The lawsuit was filed in a California federal court, and IBM claims that it has been trying to get Zillow to agree to a patent licensing deal for the past three years. IBM said it turned to the courts because of Zillow’s refusal to play ball. “Because IBM’s over three-year struggle to negotiate a license agreement that remedies Zillow’s unlawful conduct has failed, IBM has been forced to seek relief through litigation,” the lawsuit said. “Among other relief sought, IBM seeks royalties on the billions of dollars in revenue that Zillow has received based on their infringement of IBM’s patented technology.” IBM wants to ban Zillow from using any of the seven patents in the future, and it wants damages from the alleged infringement of the patents. “We are aware of the lawsuit filed in federal court. We believe the claims in the case are without merit and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves against the lawsuit,” Zillow said. IBM said it spends a great deal of money on research and development and takes patent infringement very seriously. “IBM invests more than $5 billion annually in research and development, and relies on its patents to protect that investment,” IBM said in a statement. “We are acting to address Zillow’s unauthorized use and infringement of IBM intellectual property after years of trying to negotiate a fair agreement.” Source
  10. The system will go online in October. IBM's 14th quantum computer is its most powerful so far, a model with 53 of the qubits that form the fundamental data-processing element at the heart of the system. The system, available online to quantum computing customers in October, is a big step up from the last IBM Q machine with 20 qubits and should help advance the marriage of classical computers with the crazy realm of quantum physics. Quantum computing remains a highly experimental field, limited by the difficult physics of the ultra-small and by the need to keep the machines refrigerated to within a hair's breadth of absolute zero to keep outside disturbances from ruining any calculations. But if engineers and scientists can continue the progress, quantum computers could help solve computing problems that are, in practice, impossible on today's classical computers. That includes things like simulating the complexities of real-world molecules used in medical drugs and materials science, optimizing financial investment performance, and delivering packages with a minimum of time and fuel. Quantum computers rely on qubits to store and process data. Unlike regular computer bits, which can store either a zero or a one, qubits can store a combination of both through a concept called superposition. Another factor is entanglement, which links the states of two qubits even if they're separated. "The new quantum system is important because it offers a larger lattice and gives users the ability to run even more complex entanglement and connectivity experiments," said Dario Gil, director of IBM Research. IBM is competing with companies like Google, Microsoft, Honeywell, Rigetti Computing, IonQ, Intel and NTT in the race to make useful quantum computers. Another company, D-Wave, uses a different approach called annealing that's already got some customers, while AT&T and others are pursuing the even more distant realm of quantum networking. If you're used to classical computers, you'll be familiar with powers of 2 that crop up all over the place: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, etc. So what's up with a quantum computer with 53 qubits? It stems from the hexagonally derived lattice of qubits that's advantageous when it comes to minimizing unwanted interactions, IBM said. IBM is pushing a concept called quantum volume to measure quantum computer performance. It's designed to capture more aspects of quantum computing than just qubits, which can be misleading since other factors can degrade qubit performance. IBM's 20-qubit quantum computers, of which there are now five, have a quantum volume of 16, but IBM hasn't yet tested the 53-qubit model. Source
  11. IBM makes the Power Series chips, and as part of that has open-sourced some of the underlying technologies to encourage wider use of these chips. The open-source pieces have been part of the OpenPower Foundation. Today, the company announced it was moving the foundation under The Linux Foundation, and while it was at it, announced it was open-sourcing several other important bits. Ken King, general manager for OpenPower at IBM, says that at this point in his organization’s evolution, they wanted to move it under the auspices of the Linux Foundation . “We are taking the OpenPower Foundation, and we are putting it as an entity or project underneath The Linux Foundation with the mindset that we are now bringing more of an open governance approach and open governance principles to the foundation,” King told TechCrunch. But IBM didn’t stop there. It also announced that it was open-sourcing some of the technical underpinnings of the Power Series chip to make it easier for developers and engineers to build on top of the technology. Perhaps most importantly, the company is open-sourcing the Power Instruction Set Architecture (ISA). These are “the definitions developers use for ensuring hardware and software work together on Power,” the company explained. King sees open-sourcing this technology as an important step for a number of reasons around licensing and governance. “The first thing is that we are taking the ability to be able to implement what we’re licensing, the ISA instruction set architecture, for others to be able to implement on top of that instruction set royalty free with patent rights,” he explained. The company is also putting this under an open governance workgroup at the OpenPower Foundation. This matters to open-source community members because it provides a layer of transparency that might otherwise be lacking. What that means in practice is that any changes will be subject to a majority vote, so long as the changes meet compatibility requirements, King said. Jim Zemlin, executive director at the Linux Foundation, says that making all of this part of the Linux Foundation open-source community could drive more innovation. “Instead of a very, very long cycle of building an application and working separately with hardware and chip designers, because all of this is open, you’re able to quickly build your application, prototype it with hardware folks, and then work with a service provider or a company like IBM to take it to market. So there’s not tons of layers in between the actual innovation and value captured by industry in that cycle,” Zemlin explained. In addition, IBM made several other announcements around open-sourcing other Power Chip technologies designed to help developers and engineers customize and control their implementations of Power chip technology. “IBM will also contribute multiple other technologies including a softcore implementation of the Power ISA, as well as reference designs for the architecture-agnostic Open Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (OpenCAPI) and the Open Memory Interface (OMI). The OpenCAPI and OMI technologies help maximize memory bandwidth between processors and attached devices, critical to overcoming performance bottlenecks for emerging workloads like AI,” the company said in a statement. The softcore implementation of the Power ISA, in particular, should give developers more control and even enable them to build their own instruction sets, Hugh Blemings, executive director of the OpenPower Foundation explained. “They can now actually try crafting their own instruction sets, and try out new ways of the accelerated data processes and so forth at a lower level than previously possible,” he said. The company is announcing all of this today at the The Linux Foundation Open Source Summit and OpenPower Summit in San Diego. Source
  12. Managed services and software optimized for Red Hat OpenShift and Linux aimed at helping enterprises move to the cloud. Image: IBM CEO Ginni Rometty with Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst It's only been three weeks since IBM closed its $34 billion takeover of Red Hat, and that was as long as the company was willing to wait until it announced its first joint products with the new subsidiary. According to IBM, it has already "transformed its software portfolio to be cloud-native and optimized it to run on Red Hat OpenShift." The new Cloud Paks are containerized software, specialized by workload and optimized to run on Red Hat's implementation of the open source container application platform OpenShift. They are meant to help enterprises move to the cloud. IBM also announced Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Cloud as a fully managed service and Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Z and LinuxONE for its mainframe customers. In addition, it's offering consulting and technology services for Red Hat, utilizing what it says is "one of the world's largest teams of Red Hat-certified consultants and more than 80,000 cloud application services practitioners" to help its customers move to cloud environments and maintain their cloud infrastructures once the move is made. "Red Hat is unlocking innovation with Linux-based technologies, including containers and Kubernetes, which have become the fundamental building blocks of hybrid cloud environments," Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst said in a statement. "This open hybrid cloud foundation is what enables the vision of any app, anywhere, anytime. Combined with IBM's strong industry expertise and supported by a vast ecosystem of passionate developers and partners, customers can create modern apps with the technologies of their choice and the flexibility to deploy in the best environment for the app -- whether that is on-premises or across multiple public clouds." The first five Cloud Paks out of the gate are: Cloud Pak for Data, which the company says will simplify and automate deriving insights from data while providing an open and extensible architecture to virtualize data for AI faster. Cloud Pak for Applications to help businesses modernize, build, deploy, and run applications. Cloud Pak for Integration of apps, data, cloud services, and APIs. Cloud Pak for Automation to help transform business processes, decisions, and content. Cloud Pak for Multicloud Management to provide multicloud visibility, governance, and automation. According to IBM, the Cloud Paks provide a common operating model and common set of services with a unified and intuitive dashboard. "IBM is unleashing its software from the data center to fuel the enterprise workload race to the cloud," Arvind Krishna, IBM's senior VP of cloud and cognitive software, said in a statement. "This will further position IBM the industry leader in the more than one-trillion-dollar hybrid cloud opportunity. We are providing the essential tools enterprises need to make their multi-year journey to cloud on common, open standards that can reach across clouds, across applications and across vendors with Red Hat." All in all, the company says the new software and services draw on more than 100 products from IBM's software portfolio that are optimized for Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Source
  13. IBM reportedly axed as many as 100,000 employees in the last few years because it wanted to appear "cool" and "trendy" like Amazon or Google, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. IBM has been hit by several age discrimination suits filed by former employees. Asked about the accusation, the company said IBM has been "reinvented to target higher value opportunities for our clients." Image: IBM CEO Virginia "Ginni" Rometty Hoping to come across to millennials as "cool" and "trendy" like Amazon or Google, IBM may have axed as many as 100,000 employees in the last few years. The charge came up in the deposition of a former IBM vice president in an ongoing age discrimination suit, according to a Bloomberg report. Asked for a comment on the report, IBM told Business Insider in an email, "We have reinvented IBM in the past five years to target higher value opportunities for our clients." IBM has been hit by several lawsuits accusing the tech giants of discrimination against older workers. In one of the civil cases, Alan Wild, a former IBM human resources vice president, said the company "laid off 50,000 to 100,000 employees in just the last several years," according to Bloomberg, citing a court document filed Tuesday in Texas. Wild said in his deposition that IBM wanted to demonstrate to millennials that the company wasn't "an old fuddy duddy organization," and that it hoped to come across as "as [a] cool, trendy organization" like search giant Google or online retail behemoth Amazon. "To do that, IBM set out to slough off large portions of its older workforce using rolling layoffs over the course of several years," the court filing said, according to the report. In its email, IBM said it "hires 50,000 employees each year, and spends nearly a half-billion dollars on training our team." "We also receive more than 8,000 job applications every day, the highest rate that we've ever experienced, so there's clear excitement about IBM's strategy and direction for the future," the company said. IBM is a major player in the enterprise tech market. But the company has struggled against newer rivals, led by Amazon and Google, which dominate the fast-growing cloud computing market — and it's seen its revenues shrink continuously for the last seven or so years. IBM had 350,600 workers worldwide at the end of 2018, down 19% from 2013. Source
  14. TurboSched is a new Linux kernel scheduler that's been in development by IBM for maximizing use of turbo frequencies for the longest possible periods of time. Rather than this scheduler trying to balance the load across all available CPU cores, it tries to keep the priority tasks on a select group of cores while aiming to keep the other cores idle in order to allow for the power allowance to be used by those few turbo-capable cores with the high priority work. TurboSched aims to keep low utilization tasks to already active cores as opposed to waking up new cores from their idle/power-savings states. This is beneficial for allowing the CPU cores most likely to be kept in their turbo state for longer while saving power in terms of not waking up extra cores for brief periods of time when handling various background/jitter tasks. With TurboSched being developed by IBM, it's written with their latest POWER9 processors in mind but would be interesting to see it applied to AMD and Intel CPUs moving forward. At least on POWER CPUs, IBM found this TurboSched implementation could help POWER9 workloads up to 13%. For now TurboSched is living as patches on the kernel mailing list. It will be interesting to see where this leads and how well it could potentially help AMD and Intel CPUs if adapted for those x86_64 processors. Source
  15. If we understand more about cancer on the molecular level, we can learn to treat it more effectively. IBM has released three artificial intelligence (AI) projects tailored to take on the challenge of curing cancer to the open-source community. At the 18th European Conference on Computational Biology (ECCB) and the 27th Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB), which will be held in Switzerland later this month, the tech giant will dive into how each of the projects can advance our understanding of cancers and their treatment. Cancer alone is estimated to have caused 9.6 million deaths in 2018, with an estimated 18 million new cases reported in the same year. Predisposition through genetics, environmental factors including pollution, smoking, and diet are all considered factors in how likely someone is to develop such a disease, and while we can treat many forms, we still have much to learn. Researchers from IBM's Computational Systems Biology group in Zurich are working on AI and machine learning (ML) approaches to "help to accelerate our understanding of the leading drivers and molecular mechanisms of these complex diseases," as well as methods to improve our knowledge of tumor composition. "Our goal is to deepen our understanding of cancer to equip industries and academia with the knowledge that could potentially one day help fuel new treatments and therapies," IBM says. The first project, dubbed PaccMann -- not to be confused with the popular Pac-Man computer game -- is described as the "Prediction of anticancer compound sensitivity with Multi-modal attention-based neural networks." It can take millions of dollars to develop a single drug to tackle cancer and these financial restraints can delay or scupper our potential to develop new drugs and therapies. IBM is working on the PaccMann algorithm to automatically analyze chemical compounds and predict which are the most likely to fight cancer strains, which could potentially streamline this process. The ML algorithm exploits data on gene expression as well as the molecular structures of chemical compounds. IBM says that by identifying potential anti-cancer compounds earlier, this can cut the costs associated with drug development. The second project is called "Interaction Network infErence from vectoR representATions of words," otherwise known as INtERAcT. This tool is a particularly interesting one given its automatic extraction of data from valuable scientific papers related to our understanding of cancer. With roughly 17,000 papers published every year in the field of cancer research, it can be difficult -- if not impossible -- for researchers to keep up with every small step we make in our understanding. INtERAcT aims to make the academic side of research less of a burden by automatically extracting information from these papers. At the moment, the tool is being tested on extracting data related to protein-protein interactions -- an area of study which has been marked as a potential cause of the disruption of biological processes in diseases including cancer. "A particular strength of INtERAcT is its capability to infer interactions in the context of a specific disease," IBM says. "The comparison with the normal interactions in healthy tissue may potentially help to obtain insight into the disease mechanisms." The third and final project is "pathway-induced multiple kernel learning," or PIMKL. This algorithm utilizes datasets describing what we currently know when it comes to molecular interactions in order to predict the progression of cancer and potential relapses in patients. PIMKL uses what is known as multiple kernel learning to identify molecular pathways crucial for categorizing patients, giving healthcare professionals an opportunity to individualize and tailor treatment plans. PaccMann and INtERAcT's code has been released and are available on the projects' websites. PIMKL has been deployed on the IBM Cloud and the source code has also been released. Each project is open-source and has now been made available in the public domain. IBM hopes that by making the source code available to other researchers and academics, their potential impact can be maximized by the scientific community. Source
  16. ARMONK, N.Y. and RALEIGH, N.C. — July 9, 2019 — Acquisition positions IBM as the leading hybrid cloud provider and accelerates IBM’s high-value business model, extending Red Hat’s open source innovation to a broader range of clients IBM preserves Red Hat’s independence and neutrality; Red Hat will strengthen its existing partnerships to give customers freedom, choice and flexibility Red Hat’s unwavering commitment to open source remains unchanged Together, IBM and Red Hat will deliver next-generation hybrid multicloud platform IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Red Hat announced today that they have closed the transaction under which IBM acquired all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Red Hat for $190.00 per share in cash, representing a total equity value of approximately $34 billion. The acquisition redefines the cloud market for business. Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud technologies are now paired with the unmatched scale and depth of IBM’s innovation and industry expertise, and sales leadership in more than 175 countries. Together, IBM and Red Hat will accelerate innovation by offering a next-generation hybrid multicloud platform. Based on open source technologies, such as Linux and Kubernetes, the platform will allow businesses to securely deploy, run and manage data and applications on-premises and on private and multiple public clouds. "Businesses are starting the next chapter of their digital reinventions, modernizing infrastructure and moving mission-critical workloads across private clouds and multiple clouds from multiple vendors," said Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and CEO. "They need open, flexible technology to manage these hybrid multicloud environments. And they need partners they can trust to manage and secure these systems. IBM and Red Hat are uniquely suited to meet these needs. As the leading hybrid cloud provider, we will help clients forge the technology foundations of their business for decades to come." "When we talk to customers, their challenges are clear: They need to move faster and differentiate through technology. They want to build more collaborative cultures, and they need solutions that give them the flexibility to build and deploy any app or workload, anywhere," said Jim Whitehurst, president and CEO, Red Hat. "We think open source has become the de facto standard in technology because it enables these solutions. Joining forces with IBM gives Red Hat the opportunity to bring more open source innovation to an even broader range of organizations and will enable us to scale to meet the need for hybrid cloud solutions that deliver true choice and agility." Red Hat will continue to be led by Jim Whitehurst and its current management team. Whitehurst is joining IBM’s senior management team, reporting to Ginni Rometty. IBM will maintain Red Hat’s headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina, its facilities, brands and practices. Red Hat will operate as a distinct unit within IBM and will be reported as part of IBM’s Cloud and Cognitive Software segment. Both companies have already built leading enterprise cloud businesses with consistent strong revenue growth by helping customers transition their business models to the cloud. IBM’s cloud revenue has grown from 4 percent of total revenue in 2013 to 25 percent today. This growth comes through a comprehensive range of as-a-service offerings and software, services and hardware that enable IBM to advise, build, move and manage cloud solutions across public, private and on-premises environments for customers. IBM cloud revenue for the 12-month period through the first quarter of this year grew to over $19 billion. The Red Hat acquisition is expected to contribute approximately two points of compound annual revenue growth to IBM over a five-year period. Red Hat’s fiscal year 2019 revenue was $3.4 billion, up 15 percent year-over-year. Fiscal first quarter 2020 revenue, reported in June, was $934 million, up 15 percent year-over-year. In that quarter, subscription revenue was up 15 percent year-over-year, including revenue from application development-related and other emerging technology offerings up 24 percent year-over-year. Services revenue also grew 17 percent. The Hybrid Cloud Opportunity Digital reinvention is at an inflection point as businesses enter the next chapter of their cloud journey. Most enterprises today are approximately 20 percent into their transition to the cloud. In this first chapter of their cloud journey, businesses made great strides in reducing costs, boosting productivity and revitalizing their customer-facing innovation programs. Chapter two, however, is about shifting mission-critical workloads to the cloud and optimizing everything from supply chains to core banking systems. To succeed in the next chapter of the cloud, businesses need to manage their entire IT infrastructure, on and off-premises and across different clouds — private and public – in a way that is simple, consistent and integrated. Businesses are seeking one common environment they can build once and deploy in any one of the appropriate footprints to be faster and more agile. IBM’s offerings have evolved to reflect new customer needs and drive greater growth. The acquisition of Red Hat further strengthens IBM as the leader in hybrid cloud for the enterprise. "As organizations seek to increase their pace of innovation to stay competitive, they are looking to open source and a distributed cloud environment to enable a new wave of digital innovation that wasn’t possible before. Over the next five years, IDC expects enterprises to invest heavily in their journeys to the cloud, and innovation on it. A large and increasing portion of this investment will be on open hybrid and multicloud environments that enable them to move apps, data and workloads across different environments," said Frank Gens, Senior Vice President and Chief Analyst, IDC. "With the acquisition of Red Hat, and IBM’s commitment to Red Hat’s independence, IBM is well positioned to help enterprises differentiate themselves in their industry by capitalizing on open source in this emerging hybrid and multicloud world." The collective ability of IBM and Red Hat to unlock the true value of hybrid cloud for businesses is already resonating among customers moving to the next chapter of digital reinvention. "Delta is constantly exploring current and emerging technology as we transform the air travel experience," said Ed Bastian, Delta CEO. "We’ve been working with both IBM and Red Hat for years to deliver on that goal, and as they together build the next generation IT company, they will be an essential part of our digital transformation." "As a long-standing partner of Red Hat and IBM, we look forward to capabilities that these two companies will bring together," said Michael Poser, Managing Director and Chief Information Officer, Enterprise Technology & Services, Morgan Stanley. "We know first-hand how important and impactful cloud technology contributes to unlocking business value." IBM Reinforces Commitment to Open Source and Red Hat Neutrality IBM and Red Hat have deep open source values and experience. The two companies have worked together for more than 20 years to make open source the default choice for modern IT solutions. This includes the importance of open governance and helping open source projects and communities flourish through continued contribution. With Red Hat, IBM has acquired one of the most important software companies in the IT industry. Red Hat’s pioneering business model helped bring open source – including technologies like Linux, Kubernetes, Ansible, Java, Ceph and many more – into the mainstream for enterprises. Today, Linux is the most used platform for development. Red Hat Enterprise Linux alone is expected to contribute to more than $10 trillion worth of global business revenues in 2019. By 2023, an additional 640,000 people are expected to work in Red Hat-related jobs. IBM has committed to scaling and accelerating open source and hybrid cloud for businesses across industries, as well as preserving the independence and neutrality of Red Hat’s open source heritage. This includes its open source community leadership, contributions and development model; product portfolio, services, and go-to-market strategy; robust developer and partner ecosystems, and unique culture. Red Hat’s mission and unwavering commitment to open source will remain unchanged, and Red Hat will continue to offer the choice and flexibility inherent to open source and hybrid IT environments. Red Hat also will continue to build and expand its partnerships, including those with major cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Alibaba. IBM and Red Hat also share a strong commitment to social responsibility and a sense of purpose for applying technology and expertise to help address some of the world’s most significant societal challenges. Together, the two companies have committed to expanding this longstanding commitment through new joint initiatives, addressing education and skills, civic and societal needs and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) workforce development. For more information visit: https://ibm.com/blogs/corporate-social-responsibility/2019/07/be-open-and-change-the-world/ For more information on today’s news, visit: https://newsroom.ibm.com/ and https://www.ibm.com/redhat About IBM For more information about IBM, visit https://www.ibm.com. Source
  17. IBM closes $34 billion deal to buy Red Hat (Reuters) - International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) said on Tuesday it has closed its $34 billion acquisition of software company Red Hat Inc (RHT.N) as it looks to ramp up its cloud computing business. The logo for IBM is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., June 27, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid Underscoring the drive into high-margin businesses, IBM in October agreed to buy Red Hat, the company’s biggest acquisition in its more than 100-year history. Ginni Rometty, IBM chief executive since 2012, has steered the company toward faster-growing segments such as cloud, software and services and away from traditional hardware products, but not without a bumpy journey. The newer areas of focus have sometimes underwhelmed investors. The company, which won approval for the purchase from EU regulators in late June and U.S. regulators in May, agreed to pay $190 a share for Red Hat, representing a 63 percent premium. Founded in 1993, Red Hat specializes in Linux operating systems, the most popular type of open-source software and an alternative to proprietary software made by Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O). IBM has faced years of revenue declines as it transitions from its legacy computer hardware business into new technology products and services. Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst and his management team will remain in place. Whitehurst will join IBM’s senior management team and report to Rometty. IBM will maintain Red Hat’s headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina, its facilities, brands and practices and said it operate as a distinct unit within IBM. The companies said IBM and Red Hat will offer “a next-generation hybrid multicloud platform” that will be “based on open source technologies, such as Linux and Kubernetes.” IBM’s cloud strategy has focused on helping companies stitch together multiple cloud platforms rather than compete head on with “hyperscale” cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services, a unit of Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), Microsoft and Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL.O). IBM said Red Hat will continue “to build and expand its partnerships, including those with major cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Alibaba.” Since 2013, IBM’s cloud revenue as a percentage of total revenue has grown six-fold to 25 percent. In the 12 months through the first quarter of 2019, cloud revenue exceeded $19 billion. Red Hat is expected to contribute approximately two points of compound annual revenue growth over a five-year period, IBM said. Source: IBM closes $34 billion deal to buy Red Hat
  18. “The European Commission has approved unconditionally … the proposed acquisition of Red Hat by IBM, both information technology companies based in the US,” a statement from the EU executive said. “The Commission concluded that the transaction would raise no competition concerns,” it added. The commission, the guardian of competition in the EU, took very little time to authorise the operation and has not demanded any concessions from the companies. If approved by authorities worldwide, the tie-up will be the third biggest tech merger in history, according to CNBC. Red Hat said it was the biggest involving a software company. Cloud computing refers to the delivery of computing services over the internet, including storage and software, and is considered fundamental to a highly connected world. The EU’s anti-trust teams have taken close looks at tech mergers, including Facebook’s buyout of WhatsApp, in which the social network was fined in 2017 for failing to provide correct information. Brussels’ bans on mergers are extremely rare: since the arrival of European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager at the end of 2014, there have only been six. Once known primarily for its computer hardware, IBM has made cloud computing a priority in its growth strategy, like Amazon and Microsoft. Red Hat will continue to operate as a separate unit led by its current management team. Founded in 1993, Red Hat launched its famous version of Linux OS a year later, becoming a pioneering proponent of the open source movement that arose to counter giants like Microsoft whose models were based on keeping their source code secret. The Raleigh, North Carolina based company is today present in 35 countries and employs some 12,000 people, and is one of the best-known open-source players whose customers pay for tailor-made solutions. Source
  19. BRUSSELS (Reuters) - U.S. tech giant International Business Machines Corp is set to secure unconditional EU approval for its $34 billion bid for software company Red Hat, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. IBM is seeking to expand its subscription-based software offerings via the deal, its biggest to date, to counter slowing software sales and waning demand for mainframe servers. It would also help it catch up with Amazon, Alphabet Inc and Microsoft in the fast growing cloud computing business. The European Commission, which is scheduled to decide on the deal by June 27, and IBM declined to comment. Founded in 1993, Red Hat specializes in Linux operating systems, the most popular type of open-source software and an alternative to proprietary software made by Microsoft. U.S. regulatory authorities gave the green light to the deal last month without demanding concessions. Source
  20. IBM: We've made world's most powerful commercial supercomputer French energy giant Total now has the world's 11th most powerful supercomputer in the Pangea III HPC from IBM. The IBM-built Pangea III supercomputer has come online for French energy giant Total, bringing 31.7 petaflops of processing power and 76 petabytes of storage capacity. It's now the world's most powerful supercomputer outside government-owned systems. Total's Pangea III is based on IBM's Power9 CPUs and will be used to improve and accelerate the energy company's oil and gas exploration missions, which start with crunching massive amounts of seismic data and use modeled seismic images to spot resource locations. While Pangaea III is ranked 11th overall among the world's top supercomputers, IBM boasts that Total's new supercomputer uses the "same IBM Power9 AI-optimized, high-performance architecture" as the world's two highest-performing supercomputers, Summit and Sierra, which are owned by the US Department of Energy. "[Pangea III] enables Total to reduce geological risks in exploration and development, accelerate project maturation and delivery, and increases the value of our assets through optimized field operations, with all this at lower cost," said Arnaud Breuillac, president of Total's Exploration & Production division. To build Pangea III, IBM worked with Nvidia to enhance the supercomputer with GPUs, in this case its Tesla V100 Tensor Core units, which connect with Power9 CPUs over high-speed links. The arrival of Pangea III follows Total's partnership with Google Cloud to jointly develop AI algorithms for analyzing subsurface data for oil and gas exploration and production. The pair are exploring the use of computer vision algorithms to decipher images from seismic studies and natural language processing to analyze technical documents. Total intends to use Pangea III to test its new algorithms. Total says the new algorithms and supercomputer will help it process seismic data more accurately and at a higher resolution, improving its avidity to reliably find hydrocarbons below ground, such as resources trapped under salt in Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico, Angola, and the Eastern Mediterranean. The new supercomputer will help it develop better predictive production models and improve its ability to assess the value of exploration space, allowing it to be more selective about where it extracts resources. Source
  21. IBM India to Help the Indian Government in Securing Data Servers on Cloud IBM India will reportedly offer its enterprise-grade cybersecurity solutions to help the Indian government secure its cloud servers. IBM India will reportedly offer its enterprise-grade cybersecurity solutions to help the Indian government secure its cloud servers. As chorus in India grows to safeguard key defence installations and organisations from nation-state cyber criminals, IBM with its enterprise-grade security solutions is ready to partner the government on cyber-proofing sensitive data on Cloud. According to Vikas Arora, IBM Cloud and Cognitive Software Leader, IBM India/South Asia, the company is ready with a very comprehensive portfolio of products that provides end-to-end security. "We already provide a lot of security relations to both the enterprises and the government. We are more than willing to partner with enterprises and government on the security initiatives," Arora told IANS. A new IBM-Ponemon Institute study last week revealed that nearly 79 per cent of Indian firms do not have a computer security incident response plan (CSIRP) in place that is applied consistently across operations. In the past two years, 51 per cent of Indian organisations surveyed experienced a data breach and 56 per cent experienced a cyber-security incident. "Security is no longer an IT issue. It's an issue that is being discussed, deliberated and reviewed at the board level. This is because the time it takes to resolve a cyber-attack incident has gone up in India. The cost of an incident has also gone up in India," the IBM Executive emphasised. While studies show that companies who can respond quickly and efficiently to contain a cyber-attack within 30 days save over $1 million on the total cost of a data breach on average, shortfalls in proper cyber-security incident response planning have remained consistent for several years. IBM has cyber ranges of its own that simulates incidents to better prepare for a quick and efficient response. "The focus of IBM cyber ranges is to create environment, scenarios and use cases to essentially better prepare organisations to deal with situations they have to respond to," noted Arora. Not just the government, industries across the spectrum - retail, banking automotive, telecom, manufacturing - are aiming to have a secure environment when it comes to both security and application of cognitive technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in perceiving real-time cyber threats. According to a recent report by the New Delhi-based Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), India also urgently requires to enhance the cyber capabilities of its armed forces, including the operationalisation of a Defence Cyber Agency. "Whenever there is a security incident, it is not just responding it from the technology perspective. There is a PR response, there is a marketing response, there is obviously a senior-level executive response and there is a legal response. "Our cyber ranges keep all these in mind as we prepare enterprises to gauge internal and external threat intelligence and mitigate cyber threats," said Arora. Global professional services firm EY early this year announced the launch of advanced Security Operations Centres (SOCs) in India along with IBM. Part of EY's Managed Services offerings and powered by IBM's "QRadar" platform, these SOCs are designed to detect, respond and address advanced cyber-attacks and risks. "This combination will help EY customers secure their organisations more effectively," said Arora. Source
  22. IBM looks to enhance retail stores with 'Smart Mirror' technology Offline retailers face increasing competition from new-age rivals like Amazon and the Walmart-owned Flipkart. This has been the primary reason that offline retailers have been investing in their technology capabilities. Tech giant IBM is working on a technology, referred to as ‘Smart Mirror’, through which it plans to tie up with offline retailers. The company will launch the technology in fashion retail Vero Moda’s stores and is in talks with other retailers as well. Smart Mirror is expected to enhance customers’ offline shopping experience through interactive fitting rooms which will connect retailers and customers digitally. The mirror will assist customers in understanding what product features are suiting them and can recommend changes. “The plan is to convert more footfalls into actual sales at these stores,” said Kamal Singhani, managing partner, Global Business Services, IBM India and South Asia. The company is also integrating artificial intelligence into its supply chain to improve efficiency. “We are building fashion taxonomy by analysing current fashion trends from multiple sources (catalogs, articles, blogs, images, social media) and predict future fashion trends. It currently categorizes colours, print and style,” Singhani said. “The technology will bridge the gap between the customer and merchandiser, which will help in improvising the inventory for the retailer.” According to the company’s estimate, 50-60% of designs sell well while rest are marked down. Hence, with the sales data, the company looks to analyse why a particular product did not sell well and guide the designers. Offline retailers face increasing competition from new-age rivals like Amazon and the Walmart-owned Flipkart. This has been the primary reason that offline retailers have been investing in their technology capabilities. ET recently reported that Future Group has hired senior talent from online-first firms. The company is looking to build credit platform, last-mile delivery capabilities, and a rural distribution model, and is also developing its AI capabilities. According to Forrester’s Online Retail forecast, India’s ecommerce sales are expected to grow 29% annually over the next five years. Source
  23. Severe Java bugs found in IBM Watson and its components A total of five vulnerabilities affected several components of IBM Watson. One of the critical bugs (CVE-2018-2633) can allow attackers to remotely control Watson systems. Watson, IBM’s trademark artificial intelligence(AI) system, was found to be riddled with critical security vulnerabilities in its platform. The bugs were identified in the IBM Runtime Environment Java Technology Edition, which is used by Watson Explorer and Content Analytics. IBM has addressed the five vulnerabilities by providing a fix to all the affected components. The big picture The Java components with vulnerabilities were JRockit Libraries, JRockit LDAP, JRockit JNDI, and I18n. These flaws could enable attackers to steal sensitive information, conduct denial of service attacks and have control over the infected systems. They are designated as CVE-2018-2579, CVE-2018-2588, CVE-2018-2602, CVE-2018-2603, and CVE-2018-2633. CVE-2018-2633 was the most severe among the identified vulnerabilities, which would allow cybercriminals to completely take over Watson. “An unspecified vulnerability in Oracle Java SE related to the Java SE, Java SE Embedded, JRockit JNDI component could allow an unauthenticated attacker to take control of the system.” described the bulletin. Altogether, 18 IBM Watson products were discovered to be affected. Update published Following the disclosure of the security flaws, IBM released updates for the affected components. Users are advised to upgrade to the required version of IBM Java Runtime to remediate the five vulnerabilities. All these flaws were actually addressed in the Oracle January 2018 advisory but still impacted IBM Watson due to lack of a fix until now. Regarding the affected products, Watson Explorer Foundational Components and Watson Explorer Analytical Components versions formed the major chunk. Source
  24. IBM sends Blockchain World Wire for global payments into limited production Big Blue's latest blockchain play sees cross-border payments being sent via digital tokens in near real-time. How IBM Blockchain World Wire works (Image: IBM) IBM has announced that its blockchain-based global payments network has been sent into limited production, with the company touting it as the "new financial rail" that clears and settles cross-border payments in near real-time. IBM Blockchain World Wire, Big Blue claims, is the first blockchain-based network that integrates payment messaging, clearing, and settlement on a single network. "The concept of money is 2,000 years old. The world has been using the same network to process financial transactions for 50 years. And even though globalisation has changed the world, payment fees and other financial barriers remain the same. But now there's a new way to move money," the company pitches. "We've created a new type of payment network designed to accelerate remittances and transform cross-border payments to facilitate the movement of money in countries that need it most," IBM Blockchain general manager Marie Wieck added. "By creating a network where financial institutions support multiple digital assets, we expect to spur innovation and improve financial inclusion worldwide." World Wire uses the Stellar protocol -- an open-source, decentralised protocol for digital currency to fiat currency transfer -- to transmit monetary value in the form of digital currency. The blockchain-based network will support settlement using Stellar Lumens (XLM) and the US dollar stable coin through IBM's existing partnership with Stronghold. IBM said that pending regulatory approvals and other reviews, six international banks, including Banco Bradesco, Bank Busan, and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), have signed letters of intent to issue their own stable coins on World Wire. If successful, this will see the addition of the euro, Korean won, Brazilian real, Indonesian rupiah, and Philippine peso stable coins to the network. According to IBM, World Wire has enabled payment locations in 72 countries, with 47 currencies and 44 banking endpoints. "Local regulations will continue to guide activation, and IBM is actively growing the network with additional financial institutions globally," the company said. Source
  25. Symantec partners with IBM, Microsoft and others to cut cyber security cost San Francisco: California-headquartered global cybersecurity company Symantec said it had forged partnerships with 120 companies including Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBMSecurity, Microsoft and Oracle among others to drive down the cost and complexity of cyber security. The enterprise partners are now building or delivering more than 250 products and services that integrate with Symantec's Integrated Cyber Defense (ICD) Platform, the company said on Wednesday. Symantec's ICD Platform provides a unified framework for information protection, threat protection, identity management and compliance across endpoints, networks, applications and clouds. "There's a seismic shift happening in cyber security," Art Gilliland, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Enterprise Products, Symantec, said in a statement. "The old way of fighting cyber-attacks using fragmented tools has become too complex and expensive to manage. Integrated platforms are the future," Gilliland added. Symantec started building ICD two and a half years ago with its acquisition of Blue Coat Systems, which added web and Cloud security technologies to Symantec's endpoint, email and data loss prevention (DLP) technologies. Source
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