Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the launch of Excelsior Pass — a free, voluntary platform developed in partnership with IBM, which utilizes proven, secure technology to confirm an individual’s recent negative PCR or antigen test result or proof of vaccination to help fast-track the reopening of businesses and event venues in accordance with New York State Department of Health guidelines

It was in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 when Elli Androulaki, the leader of blockchain research at the IBM Research Europe lab located near Zurich, started entertaining with her team the idea of a digital health passport as a technology to help in regaining some degree of normalcy. She knew that returning to the workplace, physically attending public events like a concert or a sports event, or using transportation would require individuals providing trustworthy information on their health status.

“It all started with a call I got from my manager asking to set up a…


By Katia Moskvitch

All it took was a ball of discarded Scotch tape in the waste basket.

There was residue on the tape’s sticky side — the result of researchers at the University of Manchester cleaning up graphite, the material in pencil lead. Curious, physics professor Andre Geim examined the residue under the microscope, then folded the tape in half and pulled it apart. The graphite flakes were thinner than any he’d ever seen. Geim had discovered graphene, an atom-thick layer of carbon — the thinnest, yet the strongest material known. …


(Image: Getty)

By Stuart Harwood, ExxonMobil, Claudio Gambella, IBM Quantum, Dimitar Trenev, ExxonMobil, and Andrea Simonetto, IBM Quantum

About 90 percent¹ of world trade relies on maritime shipping, every year moving goods with a total value of $14 trillion², with more than 50,000³ merchant ships delivering everything from food to natural gas to widgets. Logistically speaking, this isn’t the “traveling salesperson problem.” It’s a problem with thousands of companies moving every kind of good imaginable around the globe, on ships that can carry as many as 200,000 containers¹, each.

In an industry with such large and complex logistical challenges, route optimization problems…


By Ritesh Krishna and Katia Moskvitch

Developing new software for a specific scientific task can be time-consuming and costly. Software repurposing can help — at times it can even improve the results of the task compared to the traditional methods. This is exactly what our global team from IBM Research Daresbury in the UK, and Almaden and Yorktown in the US has achieved.

In our latest paper, “Repurposing software for functional characterization of the microbiome,” published in the Microbiome Journal, we propose a way to improve the speed, sensitivity and accuracy of what’s known as microbial functional profiling — determining…


Novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (Credit: Creative Commons)

By Dario Gil

On 31 December 2019, the world welcomed a new year unaware that several cases of viral pneumonia of an unknown cause had emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Forty-four people were ill, 11 — severely — and those cases were reported to World Health Organization’s Country Office.

Those few cases of COVID-19 grew to a few hundred and then to a few thousand until that trickle became a flood, spilling out of mainland China and spreading across the globe. Just one year later, we’ve amassed 85 million cases and counting.

We’ve learned a lot during the…


By Flavio Bergamaschi, Russ Daniel, and Ronen Levy

Over a decade ago, IBM Research sent the world of cryptography abuzz, when our scientists announced a major breakthrough with Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE). A mouthful perhaps, but this mathematical concept allows something no other crypto scheme does — to perform arbitrary calculations on encrypted data without decrypting it.

And now we are taking this work to the next level.Our team is now offering a first-of-its-kind security homomorphic encryption services package that provides education, expert support and a prototyping environment for clients, enabling them to start experimenting with FHE.

Researchers first started…


Natural language is… well, natural for us, humans. Not so for computers. But we are getting there.

By Katia Moskvitch

“What’s taking up all that space?!” That’s what you’d probably say to a human to find out what file was eating up all of the space on your hard drive. But dealing with a computer, you’d have to be more precise and say, somewhat boringly: “Display the top result from a list of files sorted in decreasing order of size, displayed in gigabytes / human readable format.”

This is what researchers badly want to change. Getting a machine to ‘understand’ natural language — the way you’d speak to a human — has been a hot area of…


Artificial intelligence and deep learning may seem secure, but even deep neural networks are vulnerable to hacking

By Katia Moskvitch

Deep learning may have revolutionized AI — boosting progress in computer vision and natural language processing and impacting nearly every industry. But even deep learning isn’t immune to hacking.

Specifically, it’s vulnerable to a curious form of hacking dubbed ‘adversarial examples.’ It’s when a hacker very subtly changes an input in a specific way — such as imperceptibly altering the pixels of an image or the words in a sentence — forcing the deep learning system to catastrophically fail.

AI has to be robust to withstand such attacks — and adversarial robustness also extends to its level…


By Salim Roukos, Alex Gray & Pavan Kapanipathi

Language is what makes us human. Asking questions is how we learn.

Building on the foundations of deep learning and symbolic AI, we have developed technology that can answer complex questions with minimal domain-specific training. Initial results are very encouraging — the system outperforms current state-of-the-art techniques on two prominent datasets with no need for specialized end-to-end training. [Read more on IBM Research’s efforts in neuro-symbolic ‘common sense’ AI here]

As this technology matures, it will be possible to use it for better customer support, business intelligence, medical informatics, advanced discovery, and…


By Katia Moskvitch

Spike protein of the coronavirus attaching itself to the cell’s membrane. Credit: Cornell University

And… halt! When it comes to stopping a virus it its tracks, it’s crucial to know exactly how and where the tiny intruder actually gets into an organism. For the first time, researchers have generated a complete molecular model of the specific elements of coronavirus that penetrate our cells’ membrane — and understood how and why the penetration happens.

Understanding the process of the penetration and fusion of the virus’s and the host’s membranes at the atomic level is vital to the design of molecular inhibitors that would prevent the virus from entering the cells.

Early in…

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