By Chris Sciacca

Coffee, anyone?

Not at IBM Research — a place where interns are not expected to routinely bring coffee or make photocopies. At IBM, as one former intern put it, “it’s amazing how much you can learn in such a short time when you’re surrounded by so many smart people.”

The former intern is Victor Akinwande, and he wrote these words in February 2018 during his stint at IBM Research Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. The internship eventually turned into a full-time software engineering position at IBM.

But now, with his manager’s encouragement, he is preparing to leave for…

By Angela Harp

“Do what you love and don’t be afraid to fail.”

Marianna Rapsomaniki [Credit: IBM Research]

Greek computational biologist and a busy mom of a toddler, Marianna Rapsomaniki remembers her childhood well — and the stories her dad, a captain, used to tell her as a kid. They were all about his travels, about the Universe, and about believing that if you want something really, really badly, your wish will always come true.

Her wish has always been to work with nature — as well as with math and computers.

Today, Marianna works at IBM Research Europe. For a week, she’s taking over…

By Katia Moskvitch

Forty years ago, on 6–8 May 1981, a group of physicists and computer scientists got together at MIT’s Endicott House. The event was the Physics of Computation conference. The hottest topic of discussion — the possibility of mimicking nature to design ever more powerful ways of computation.

The possibility of building a quantum computer.

Fast-forward to today. Some of those physicists have gathered at a celebratory event QC40 this week to chat about the future and the present of quantum computing. After all, several companies have been busy building these machines, using different approaches. …

By Katia Moskvitch

Earth Day is the day to celebrate our blue planet. The day to remember that it’s the only home we’ve got.

During his very first days in office, President Joe Biden signed a flurry of climate change-related executive orders. He rejoined the Paris Climate Accord, pledged to double offshore wind-produced energy by 2030 and freeze new oil and gas leases on public lands. All in all, he’s committed himself to an ambitious goal.

Ambitious, yes, but realistic — especially with the help of cutting-edge science and technology. To make it happen though, academia and industry should join…

NYC governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the launch of Excelsior Pass — a free platform developed in partnership with IBM, which uses secure tech to confirm a negative PCR or antigen test or proof of vaccination

By Katia Moskvitch

It was in March 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when Elli Androulaki first thought about creating a digital health pass. The leader of blockchain research at the IBM Research Europe near Zurich, she knew that once the pandemic begins to ease up, returning to work, attending events, or even using public transport would require people to provide information on their health.

“I got from my manager asking to set up a brainstorming session with my team. I noticed a sense of urgency in his voice,” Androulaki recalls. …

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. …

[Credit: Getty Images]

By Stuart Harwood, Claudio Gambella, Dimitar Trenev, and Andrea Simonetto

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 are challenging to solve with classical…

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…

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