Current issue

The field of artificial intelligence (AI) has grown tremendously in recent years with the advent of Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) that surpass humans in a variety of cognitive tasks. It is estimated that the digital universe is growing at a rate of approximately 60% per year. This abundance of data, coupled with exponential gains in compute power, has enabled remarkable computational tools that have improved our understanding of today's incredibly complex economies and societies. Moreover, it has ushered in a new era of computing: the cognitive, or AI, era, in which data is considered a new natural resource and AI algorithms are indispensable tools. This special issue of the IBM Journal of Research and Development builds a bridge from conventional distributed learning systems, to hardware solutions that minimize data movement from the compute to memory, to novel hardware approaches on the horizon for deep learning for both training and inference. We have a collection of ten contributions from leading authorities in their fields that summarize the state of the art and show original research results.

Previous issues

Blockchain refers to a set of techniques to implement distributed computing systems without assumption of a centralized trusted organization. Known initially for enabling anonymous global payments (e.g., Bitcoin), Blockchain today is poised for applications in many business use cases that benefit from distribution of trust. Such applications come with challenges in production deployments that are addressed in this issue of the IBM Journal of Research and Development. The issue presents topics around architectural decisions and building blocks, privacy in permissioned setups, the extension of blockchain for physical assets, the use of artificial intelligence with blockchain, as well as the generation smart contracts. The issue, furthermore, discusses blockchain applications in healthcare and supply chains.

This special issue of the IBM Journal of Research and Development explores both theoretical contributions to computational creativity research and groundbreaking computational creativity systems in a variety of domains. While creativity, like intelligence, is difficult to define, the theoretical papers in this issue explore how to evaluate creativity and the theoretical limits of creativity. The computational creativity systems described in the papers provide a cross-section of the types of applications that are emerging from the research community. They provide both creative designs and powerful tools to assist human designers in their creative tasks. The applications range in tasks from designs meant to appeal to human senses, like color choice, visual composition and recipe generation to more cognitive tasks, like software composition, tag-line generation, and narrative generation.

Current challenges in drug discovery are framed by an experienced pharmaceutical industry researcher. New data sources such as real world evidence, new algorithms for artificial intelligence (AI) and simulation, new hardware such as the latest high-performance computing machines and future quantum computers, and new collaboration models all offer potential to drive the more efficient discovery of innovative new medicines. This special issue of the IBM Journal of Research and Development focuses broadly on computational technologies for drug discovery and includes reflections from both IBM and non-IBM authors on the current and future state of the art for a number of key technologies, as well as descriptions of how, when, and why they are used.

IBM POWER9 servers are designed specifically to handle both traditional and emerging artificial intelligence workloads, as well as the world of high-performance computing workloads. To mitigate the reduction in performance improvement from transistors in modern VLSI technology, the POWER9 servers embed a series of innovations in both hardware and system software architectures. The papers in this issue of the IBM Journal of Research and Development effectively describe these innovations.

This issue of the IBM Journal of Research and Development describes the innovative design and technology of the IBM z14, the latest IBM mainframe, with its significant new capabilities, including pervasive encryption, analytics and machine learning, platform simplification, enhanced system capacity and performance, significant reduction in I/O latency, data serving, reliability, robustness, and new semiconductor process technology. The topics covered in this issue also consider client value, solutions, and business motivation, along with additional new technologies and innovations across the stack.

User-generated health data includes data related to activity, diet, exercise, sleep, symptoms, treatments, and outcomes that are collected by the patient outside clinical settings. Beyond various data capture and processing challenges, it is essential to understand how insights generated from the data can be made useful for key stakeholders (e.g., payers, providers, and patients). This issue of the IBM Journal of Research and Development emphasizes new methods, models, capabilities, and technologies that focus on the collection, processing, privacy, curation, analysis, interpretation, and use of insights from user-generated health data.

Nontopical papers: At the end of this issue are two nontopical papers on 1) building a cognitive platform for the managed IT services lifecycle and 2) reengineering a server ecosystem for enhanced portability and performance.

Unprecedented growth of digital information provides special opportunities for having a positive impact on public policy and many other activities for societal benefit. Such activities may use analytics and include projects ranging from helping those in need and improving access to health care and education, to reducing pollution and creating collaboration approaches for effective utilization of various resources. This issue of the IBM Journal of Research and Development emphasizes new solutions, models, capabilities, and technologies that focus on addressing humanitarian challenges. Topics include health and well-being, improvements to cities and ecoscapes, the fostering of innovation and philanthropic projects, addressing the challenges of humanitarian crises and disasters, developing tools for collaboration, and more.

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