Sixty years ago, a revolution started in a renovated fraternity house on the campus of Columbia University in New York. Recently, the staff and researchers at the IBM Haifa Labs celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of that historic event-the establishment of the IBM Research Division.
In a day-long celebration that included guest lecturers from former IBM Haifa researchers, a film documenting IBM Research's long and illustrious history, and an open reception attended by hundreds of current and former employees, the Haifa research facility marked six decades of IBM's worldwide technological leadership and innovation.
In the years since IBM Research began on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, IBM scientists have developed a long list of breakthrough technologies that have literally changed the path of history. In addition to winning a long list of the world's most prestigious technical awards, including several Nobel prizes, IBM researchers have developed technologies such as the FORTRAN language, fractal geometry, magnetic disk storage, the relational database, and token-ring networking.
In the 33 years since the IBM Haifa Labs were established, the Israeli branch of IBM Research has played a pivotal role in helping to advance IBM's scientific developments worldwide. Founded by the late Josef Raviv in 1972 as the IBM Scientific Center, the original four employees of the Haifa Labs first worked on computing projects for local farmers. Very quickly, however, the scientists working for IBM in Haifa began working on the company's global efforts. Throughout the years of its existence, the IBM Haifa Research Lab has contributed a huge amount of critical research for IBM worldwide projects in such areas as compiler optimization, mail sorting automization, storage simulation, healthcare, and advanced mathematics.
But IBM Haifa researchers do more than just theoretical science. Meir Nissensohn, general manager of IBM Israel, noted that the technical support and scientific abilities of Haifa researchers have helped IBM in more ways than one.
"IBM Haifa scientists have carried out exceptional research for IBM branches all over the world, but they have also helped IBM Israel close numerous business deals," said Nissensohn. "By being behind us and providing advanced technical abilities, IBM Haifa researchers have helped us win several high-profile clients, including El Al Airlines, Zim Shipping, and Bank Hapoalim, to name just a few."
The over 600 current employees at the IBM Haifa Labs sites throughout Israel now serve as major centers of competency for IBM throughout the world in such diverse fields as verification, storage, information retrieval, search technologies, and software engineering.