CeBIT Wrap Up – Projects in Haifa, Tokyo and Zurich

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Last week more than 300,000 people descended on the small German city of Hanover for the annual CeBIT Trade Show. The event attracts an important audience including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

IBM has been a CeBIT stalwart for more than 20 years and always offers attendees a booth roughly the size of a football pitch (a.k.a. a soccer field for those in the US). As in years past, arguably the most frequented demos in the booth come from IBM’s labs — and this year the labs in Tokyo, Zurich and Haifa delivered.

Frugal Innovation

Michiaki Tatsubori and Hidemasa Muta from IBM Research – Tokyo demonstrated a frugal Smarter Traffic solution.

“With the support of the Kenyan government we could access 9 security cameras that were installed at various highway and street locations in Nairobi. Based on analyzing small sections of the traffic we could extrapolate this to predict patterns,” said Tatsubori-san.

The project is good news in particular for the emerging countries, which don’t have large IT budgets to tackle their traffic problems.

Adjacent from the Tokyo team were two Dutch scientists, who combined have been working for IBM for nearly 60 years. Ton Engbersen hired Ronald Luijten back in the early 1980s and the two currently work on the DOME project at IBM Research – Zurich.

DOME: Big Bang Meets Big Data

IBM researchers are working with the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy and South Africa’s National Research Foundation to investigate whether big data and emerging exascale computing technologies can be used to analyze data streaming from the Big Bang from 13.75 billion years ago.

At CeBIT, the duo and their younger colleagues, showed off some of the early results in DOME including a very dense and energy-efficient microsever. The microserver is basically a shrunken data center that will analyze the Big Bang data in close to real time to get the most important pieces to astronomers for further study (for more on DOME read this whitepaper).

Augmented Shopping

Sometimes walking into a supermarket can be an overwhelming experience. Dozens of products on the shelf start to look similar — when in fact they are different.

Which brand of cereal has the most sugar or salt? Which one is organic? Which one is local? Fret no more, IBM’s Augmented Shopping App is here.

Developed in IBM Research – Haifa the app takes a photo of the shelf and then superimposes a filter over the boxes to let the user sort the products by various characteristics, like price, fat content or if it’s lactose free.

Amnon Ribak, who developed the app comments, “The differences between online shopping and in-store shopping will start to merge. And what we’re seeing is the blurring of the physical and the virtual.”

CeBIT wrapped up last Saturday. In August the teams will begin to prepare for CeBIT 2014.

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