Welcome!

Virtualization Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Noel Wurst, David H Deans, Gilad Parann-Nissany, Charles Jolley

News Feed Item

IBM Brings Watson to Africa

$100M "Project Lucy" Initiative Heralds New Era of Data-Driven Development

LAGOS, Nigeria and NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) has launched a 10-year initiative to bring Watson and other cognitive systems to Africa in a bid to fuel development and spur business opportunities across the world's fastest growing continent. Dubbed "Project Lucy" after the earliest known human ancestor, IBM will invest US$100 million in the initiative, giving scientists and partners access to the world's most advanced cognitive computing technologies.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090416/IBMLOGO)

"In the last decade, Africa has been a tremendous growth story -- yet the continent's challenges, stemming from population growth, water scarcity, disease, low agricultural yield and other factors are impediments to inclusive economic growth," said Kamal Bhattacharya, Director, IBM Research – Africa. "With the ability to learn from emerging patterns and discover new correlations, Watson's cognitive capabilities hold enormous potential in Africa – helping it to achieve in the next two decades what today's developed markets have achieved over two centuries."

IBM's Watson represents a new era of cognitive computing, in which systems and software are not programmed, but actually improve by learning so they can discover answers to questions and uncover insights by analyzing massive amounts of Big Data. 

Watson technologies will be deployed from IBM's new Africa Research laboratory providing researchers with a powerful set of resources to help develop commercially-viable solutions in key areas such as healthcare, education, water and sanitation, human mobility and agriculture.

To help fuel the cognitive computing market and build an ecosystem around Watson, IBM will also establish a new pan-African Center of Excellence for Data-Driven Development (CEDD) and is recruiting research partners such as universities, development agencies, start-ups and clients in Africa and around the world. By joining the initiative, IBM's partners will be able to tap into cloud-delivered cognitive intelligence that will be invaluable for solving the continent's most pressing challenges and creating new business opportunities.

"For Africa to join, and eventually leapfrog, other economies, we need comprehensive investments in science and technology that are well integrated with economic planning and aligned to the African landscape," said Prof Rahamon Bello, Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos. "I see a great opportunity for innovative research partnerships between companies like IBM and African organizations, bringing together the world's most advanced technologies with local expertise and knowledge."

Center of Excellence for Data-Driven Development
Decades of development work in Africa have significantly helped to improve the livelihood and raise the standard of living for millions across the continent. However, traditional approaches have often fallen short because of commercial unviability, a domain specific scope and a lack of accurate data.

Big Data technologies have a major role to play in Africa's development challenges: from understanding food price patterns, to estimating GDP and poverty numbers, to anticipating disease – the key is turning data into knowledge and actionable insight.

"The next wave of development in Africa requires a new collaborative approach where nonprofit and commercial organizations like RTI and IBM work together to consolidate, analyze and act upon the continent's data," said Aaron Williams, Executive Vice President for International Development, RTI International. "Data-driven development has the potential to improve the human condition and provide decision makers with the insight they need to make more targeted interventions."

By establishing the pan-African Center for Data-Driven Development (CEDD), IBM will leverage the latest Watson cognitive technologies to provide its research partners with access to high-frequency and better organized data. This will enable scientists and analysts to more accurately calculate social and economic conditions and identify previously unseen correlations across multiple domains. Through the Project Lucy initiative, partners will be able to tap into IBM's unparalleled expertise in cognitive computing across its 12 global laboratories and new Watson business unit. Through CEDD they will gain access to the resources, tools and knowledge-based services necessary for developing cognitive computing innovations.

"Africa is facing a double challenge: the lack of accessible data to support its economic development, and the lack of advanced skills in data analysis. IBM's work to share Watson with Africa will help to address both challenges," said Michel Bézy, Associate Director, Carnegie Mellon University in Rwanda. "We are really excited by this opportunity for our students and faculty to partner with IBM to solve critical regional problems with the most advanced cognitive technology available."

Two of the first focus areas of the new center are healthcare and education:

Healthcare
Sub-Saharan Africa is home to approximately 25 percent of the world's disease burden; yet the most common form of healthcare outside of cities is delivered by community health workers. CEDD will collect encyclopedic knowledge about traditional and non-traditional diseases in Africa. With access to Watson's cognitive intelligence, doctors, nurses and field workers will get help in diagnosing illnesses and identifying the best treatment for each patient.

For example, women in sub-Saharan Africa account for 22 percent of all cases of cervical cancer worldwide mainly due to a lack of services and knowledge. Watson could provide new insights into the evolution of cervical cancer in Africa and suggest new approaches for its prevention, diagnosis and treatment. By feeding back valuable clinical data about their field observations, healthcare workers will be able to contribute to improving Watson's inference abilities.

Education
Currently, half of African children will reach their adolescent years unable to read, write or perform basic numeric tasks. The key to improving these statistics is a thorough understanding of student performance, teacher expertise, attendance levels, class sizes, linguistic abilities and learning materials. While previous information systems have only provided a limited view of point problems, using Watson technologies, CEDD aims to create new holistic approaches for analyzing data to identify previously unrecorded correlations. For example, Watson could identify the link between a contaminated water borehole, an epidemic of cholera and the subsequent low levels of school attendance in the region. Watson could also help to uncover other causes of low school attendance in a particular region such as a lack of sanitary supplies and cultural traditions placing childcare responsibility on older siblings.

Today's announcement is part of a broader effort by IBM to advance and share cognitive computing innovations around the world.  Nearly three years after its triumph on the television quiz show Jeopardy!, IBM has advanced Watson from a game playing innovation into a commercial technology. The company recently established a new Watson business unit dedicated to the development and commercialization of cognitive computing innovations and is investing more than $1 billion to bring cognitive applications and services to market.

This week IBM is also announcing other investments into the African innovation ecosystem with the opening of new IBM Innovation Centers in Lagos, Nigeria; Casablanca, Morocco, and Johannesburg, South Africa. These new centers aim to spur local growth and fuel an ecosystem of development and entrepreneurship around Big Data analytics and cloud computing in the region.  In recognition of its role in driving data-driven growth and opportunity, this week Frost & Sullivan named IBM an Innovation Leader in Big Data and Analytics in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

IBM recently organized an initiative asking people from across Africa to submit images which best illustrate Africa's grand challenges and opportunities and help illustrate the mission of IBM's new Africa Research Lab. 'The World is Our Lab – Africa' project has generated over 1200 images from across 25 African countries helping to tell the other side of the continent's story. To visit the project website, go to: http://www.theworldisourlabafrica.com/

To view a selection of these images, visit:  http://bit.ly/1hJD9QO

For more information on 'Project Lucy' and to download the official IBM infographic, go to:
http://ibm.co/1eUYH9S

To download images of the IBM Research - Africa lab and its staff, go to:
http://bit.ly/MIK2YY

To view a film about Africa's grand challenges and opportunities visit:
http://bit.ly/19ZvXAv

About IBM Research - Africa
IBM has had a direct presence in Africa for over 70 years that today spans more than 20 countries, including Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Angola, Kenya and Tanzania. IBM Research – Africa - the continent's first commercial technology research facility - was inaugurated in by His Excellency, the President of Kenya, Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta in November, 2013. The lab employs researchers from some of the world's best universities to conduct applied and far-reaching exploratory research into the grand challenges of the African continent by delivering commercially-viable innovations that impact people's lives.

The 2000m2 facility features one of Africa's most powerful, cloud-enabled computing hubs giving researchers the ability to analyze and draw insight from vast amounts of data in the search for solutions to Africa's most pressing challenges.

About Watson
Named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, IBM Watson was developed in IBM's Research labs. Using natural language processing and analytics, Watson processes information akin to how people think, representing a major shift in an organization's ability to quickly analyze, understand and respond to Big Data. Now delivered from the cloud from a single Power 750 server running Linux and able to power new consumer and enterprise services and apps, Watson is 24 times faster, smarter (with a 2,400 percent improvement in performance) and 90 percent smaller – IBM has shrunk Watson from the size of a master bedroom to three stacked pizza boxes. Watson's ability to answer complex questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence is transforming decision making across a variety of industries.

For example, IBM is partnering with a range of healthcare organizations to apply Watson in order to transform how medicine is practiced, paid for and taught.  The company is also working with a variety of organizations to transform how enterprises conduct research, share data-driven insights, and engage their customers via Watson-powered solutions.

To share cognitive computing with a broader group of innovators, IBM has made Watson available as a development platform in the cloud, enabling software application providers to build a new generation of apps infused with cognitive computing intelligence.

IBM CEO Ginny Rometty, Addresses Business and Government Leaders at the Smarter Planet Leadership Exchange Forum in Lagos, Nigeria. Announces Details of 'Project Lucy' - a 10-Year, $100M initiative to bring Watson cognitive technologies to Africa.

Multimedia Assets associated with this release:
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsOj-lLKm2E
Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140206/NY60080

Contacts:
Jonathan Batty
IBM Research
[email protected]
+44-7873-295615

Kui Kinyanjui
IBM Africa
[email protected]
+254 721 676 543

Michael Loughran
IBM US
[email protected]
+1 914 945 1613

SOURCE IBM

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...