November 15, 2016

San Francisco, CA, USA


TED@IBM is a one-day, annual event that serves as a premier platform to explore the relationship between technology and humanity. It combines the power of TED’s mission and model with the depth and breadth of expertise from within IBM—and from IBM clients, partners, and friends—to explore bold ideas and unexpected insights through unique and often personal stories. Join us as we share these stories with the world.

2016 theme: Spark

We live in an era of great need and even greater creativity. From solitary artists to scientists, mothers, mathematicians and business visionaries, people in every corner of the world are inventing intriguing solutions to our most pressing issues. These ideas are more powerful than ever thanks to the global reach of inexpensive technology. But whether tackling war and peace or the principles of machine learning, ingenuity starts with one thing: a spark. And regardless of where the spark takes root, this inspiration demands action to reach its greatest potential.

TED@IBM invites you to share your spark—consider this a call to action that could change just about everything.

Get ready for TED@IBM 2016 and relive the great talks from past events

Binge watching you can feel good about. Whether you missed 2014 and 2015, or you just want to watch your favorite talks again, you can find every inspiring moment of TED@IBM in the video gallery.

Featured documentaries

P-TECH: How high schoolers are redefining their future

Combating organized cybercrime

Our venue in San Francisco

TED@IBM will be held at SFJAZZ Center, located at the corner of Franklin and Fell streets in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood. It is easily accessible from Muni Metro (Van Ness or Civic Center stations) and BART (Civic Center station).

201 Franklin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

2015 speakers

Aaron Horowitz
The Teddy Bear that May Save Your Child

Chieko Asakawa
Let Me See the World

Eric Mibuari
Toward Financial Inclusion in Africa Using Mobile and Social Data

Jared Kleinert
2 Billion Under 20: Millennials

Jeannette Garcia
Not Your Grandpa's Plastic

Jerry M. Chow
A Quantum Leap for Life Science

Josh Luber
Sneakerhead Data and the Future of Online Commerce

Kala Fleming
Digital Aquifers in Africa (No Water, No Life)

Lisa Marie Johnston
Stomp & Groove

Lloyd A. Treinish
The Business of Weather

Maria Dubovitskaya
Your Data Is Currency, Now Protect It

Melanie Butcher
Empathy: The Inventor's Creed

Nir Eyal
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Robert Prill
The Collective Intelligence of Microbes

Shoel Perelman
How to Nurture Your Rebels

Vinith Misra
The Algorithms of Humor

Robert Prill

Robert Prill is a Computational Biologist at the IBM Almaden Research Center. He is an expert at combining genomic, phenotypic, and metadata into integrative analyses that evoke concepts from systems biology, machine learning, data science, and visualization. He received a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 2008. Currently, Robert leads an interdisciplinary team of engineers and scientists in the pursuit of microbial biomarkers for food safety.

Shoel Perelman

Shoel Perelman is the Vice President of Development for IBM's Customer Engagement Solutions products. His development team, which spans the US, India, China, and Canada, brings to life innovations at the convergence of ecommerce, digital marketing, customer analytics, and merchandising optimization. Shoel previously served as the Development Director of IBM's Smarter Cities business where he partnered with IBM research to launch new software offerings that optimize traffic flows and water usage, as well as coordinate a city's public safety response. Shoel joined IBM in 2006 when IBM acquired Micromuse Inc. While working for Micromuse Inc., Shoel became an early pioneer in Business Service Management, an area in which he holds two patents.

Vinith Misra

Vinith Misra is a research staff member in IBM's Watson Group. His research interests range from knowledge graph prediction and Lord of the Rings analytics to data-driven compression and information theoretic models for learning. He is a recipient of the Stanford Graduate Fellowship, the National Science and Defense Graduate Fellowship, and MIT's David Adler Memorial Thesis Prize. Misra is also part of Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2015 in Enterprise Technology. Additionally, since 2013 he has served as a technical consultant to the HBO series Silicon Valley. Vinith holds a PhD from Stanford's Information Systems Lab, and he holds both a BS and MS from MIT in Electrical Engineering.

Melanie Butcher

Melanie Butcher is a serial entrepreneur. She has created and helped to create many small companies, serving as consultant, developer, development manager, product manager and many more. In all of these roles, including her current one as Program Director of the IBM Commerce UX Design Studio, she strives to make design and user interaction natural parts of the development process. She enjoys creating products and doing everything associated with understanding users and their problems with the goal of ensuring that usability goes hand-in-hand with enterprise applications. Melanie studied at Boston University and has been creating cloud-based applications since 1997.

Lloyd A. Treinish

Lloyd A. Treinish leads the global environmental science team at IBM Research. In his role at the Industry Solutions Department at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, he oversees research and development as well as operations with clients of IBM laboratories in New York, Brazil, India, Ireland, China and Australia. He pioneered scientifically based services for environmentally sensitive business operations, including issues related to weather, water, energy, climate and sustainability. Lloyd is considered the father of Deep Thunder, which has enabled the practical use of advanced modelling for weather-sensitive decision making. He has authored more than 60 technical articles and has been issued five patents.

Dr. Maria Dubovitskaya

Maria Dubovitskaya is a research staff member at IBM Research - Zurich working on designing cryptographic protocols for privacy protection and applying them in practice. Maria holds a Ph.D. in cryptography and privacy from ETH Zurich. Besides her daily job she is involved in outreach activities such as the IBM EXITE (Exploring Interest in Technology and Engineering) program promoting science and tech education for school girls. Maria is one of the founders and is a co-leader of IBM Technical Excellence Council R/CIS, an IBM Academy of Technology Affiliate, and she is the recipient of the Anita Borg Change Agent Award in 2012.

Dr. Chieko Asakawa

Chieko Asakawa is an IBM Fellow who has been instrumental in furthering accessibility research and development for the past three decades. By challenging traditional thinking on how the visually impaired use technology, Dr. Asakawa’s leadership generated a series of pioneering technologies that significantly contributed to advancing Web accessibility. This includes groundbreaking work in digital Braille and a voice browser. The government of Japan awarded the 2013 Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon to Dr. Asakawa for her outstanding contributions to accessibility research, including the development of a voice browser for the visually impaired. Today, with Carnegie Mellon University, she is working on how accessibility technologies can play a key role in the real world to help create opportunities for more people to actively participate in the society.

Josh Luber

Josh Luber is the founder and CEO of Campless, a "sneakerhead data" company, which tracks the secondary market for sneaker sales—a $6 billion global industry. Mr. Luber founded Campless while working as a consultant at IBM as part of the GBS organization SCIP and is currently based in Philadelphia. Campless, which has been referred to as the “Kelly Blue Book for sneakers,” has been featured by media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, London Financial Times and CNN Money. Prior to IBM, Mr. Luber founded and operated three different startups after a brief stint as a bankruptcy attorney at Alston & Bird in Atlanta.

Aaron Horowitz

Aaron Horowitz is a maker; from sculptures to business, he is fascinated with the process of taking an idea from concept to reality. He is passionate about creating interfaces that drive a shift towards ubiquitous computing. He is currently co-founder and CEO of Sproutel, the creator of Jerry the Bear, a smart toy and learning companion for health and wellness education. He holds a degree in Mechatronics and User Interaction Design from Northwestern University and sits on the national advisory board of Design for America. When unplugged, Mr. Horowitz is likely either carving stone or surfing.

Jamie Garcia

Jeannette Garcia focuses her research on designing new polymers through sustainable methods and targeting recyclable materials with mechanical and thermal properties in previously unattainable combinations. Dr. Garcia’s team completed work on a new class of polymers, which can potentially be used as printable materials (3D printing), structural composites, cargo carriers, adhesives and sealants. She is also interested in chemistries for improving the environment and human health. Her team used discarded drink bottles to create starting materials for high-performance materials. Additionally, her team designed a low cost, portable detection system for toxic heavy metals in drinking water. Dr. Garcia also researches energy storage applications for high-capacity automotive batteries.

Eric Mibuari

Eric Mibuari is the team lead of the Financial Services Innovation group at IBM’s Africa Research Lab in Nairobi, Kenya. His team of scientists and software engineers is working on innovations to propagate access to financial services across the continent and beyond. Ongoing projects are focused on mobile money, mobile commerce and mobile credit in partnership with financial institutions and telecom firms. Mr. Mibuari holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Stanford University and a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His previous experience includes roles in software engineering in the US and in the biotech industry in France.

Jared Kleinert

Jared Kleinert is co-author of 2 Billion Under 20 and the founder of Kleinert Ventures, a marketing consulting firm that helps thought leaders and companies around the world market to millennials, as well as recruit and retain top millennial talent. Mr. Kleinert was previously an early team member at the enterprise software startup 15Five and edtech startup Learnist. He also successfully started (and spectacularly failed at) two startups of his own at the ages of 15 and 16. At 17, he was named the "Definition of Social Entrepreneur" by Forbes and has since appeared in Fast Company, TechCrunch, Business Insider, Huffington Post and other media outlets.

Nir Eyal

Nir Eyal writes, consults and teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology and business. The M.I.T. Technology Review dubbed Nir “the Prophet of Habit-Forming Technology.” Nir founded two tech companies since 2003 and has taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford. He is the author of the bestselling book Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. In addition to blogging at, Nir is a contributing writer for TechCrunch, Inc. and Psychology Today.

Lisa Marie Johnston

Lisa Marie Johnston, affectionately referred to as "LMJ," is a singer/songwriter from Oakland, California. She blends country, Americana and blues into a unique style she calls "stomp and groove.” LMJ represents a new breed of independent artists as a fully self-managed working musician, a self-funded recording artist and a self-published songwriter. She has made music with many Bay Area musicians including Arion Salazar from Third Eye Blind. She released her first EP titled This Is Me on her indie label Stomp and Groove Records in 2011, and then another titled The Reto Sessions Volume 1&2 in May 2015. LMJ has a new collection of recordings produced by Matt Winegar coming out in Fall 2015.

Dr. Jerry M. Chow

Jerry M. Chow is the Manager of the Experimental Quantum Computing group at IBM’s T. J. Watson Research Center and the primary investigator of the IBM team for the IARPA sponsored Multi-Qubit Coherent Operations project. His technical expertise is in the area of design, measurement and integration of superconducting quantum devices. Dr. Chow graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. degree in physics and an M.S. degree in applied mathematics from Harvard and subsequently an MS and a PhD in physics from Yale. He was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for his work on implementing the first quantum processor with superconducting qubits.

Dr. Kala Fleming

Kala Fleming is a scientist and thought leader on water management. She leads a team of scientists at IBM Research – Africa that focuses on delivering smarter planet solutions for water, agriculture and healthcare. She is a trusted advisor who works with government and the private sector in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia to develop data-driven strategies for water availability with particular emphasis on small-scale farmer productivity and urban sustainability. Over the last 10 years, she has worked with underserved communities in the US, Caribbean and West Africa as a consultant providing training, advice and policy solutions focused on evolving more progressive communities.

Caretha Coleman

Caretha Coleman is Chairman of the Board of Dignity Health, a $16 billion healthcare system whose mission focuses on the delivery of quality healthcare to the underserved. As a principal of Coleman Consulting, she focused on working with start-ups and early-stage ventures on strategy development, executive coaching and organizational effectiveness. As a believer in philanthropy and an active leader in the community, Caretha's volunteer efforts and professional affiliations are numerous. She most recently was named as one of the Bay Area’s most Influential Women by the San Francisco Business Times and a 2015 Outstanding Director by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.