5 top takeaways from Think 2018

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The first Think conference is in the rear-view mirror. There, visionary speakers and experts shared their solutions for some of the world’s most daunting challenges, and IBM revealed some of our big bets on infrastructure innovation in the coming years.

Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on the conference, I’ve assembled my five top takeaways from the conference’s Infrastructure Campus presentations that highlighted key insights into innovative, high-performance technologies.

1. Leaving Moore’s Law behind

The IT landscape is undergoing major architectural disruption driven by a number of factors, including the end of Moore’s Law. As Moore’s Law tapers off, IBM and its partners and clients are ready. “We’re reinventing compute, overcoming the limitations of Moore’s Law by using our IBM POWER9 processors in conjunction with accelerators such as NVIDIA GPUs,” said Tom Rosamilia, Senior Vice President, IBM Systems. “Our Power Systems are designed from the ground up for AI. It’s the combination of the two that delivers so much value from systems, with lots of memory and tremendous bandwidth.”

2. Problem solving in the era of data

“The world’s major challenges—from cancer and crime to self-driving cars—are largely data problems,” said Inderpal Bhandari, IBM Global Chief Data Officer. “It is a ethical and business imperative to provide data solutions to these data problems.” Doing so requires the right technology, including better data infrastructure. Here again, IBM Systems is helping to lead the way with one of the broadest storage portfolios in the industry, executed with vision and innovation.

3. Mainframe technology for a frontier market

Think 2018 attendees also learned that one of the fastest growing financial institutions in Asia is banking on IBM mainframe technology. Chester Gorski, chief technology and operations officer at Techcombank in Vietnam, described how the bank consolidated its Oracle database and applications on a LinuxONE Emperor II system to keep pace with 30 percent year-over-year growth.1 Want to hear even more from Chester? Don’t miss this video interview he did live from Think with data scientist Dez Blanchfield:

4. IT reaches a new inflection point

Another big takeaway I heard from both fellow attendees and so many speakers revolved around the shifting function of IT. Until recently, the value of IT to an organization was likely based on how much process work could be done. “Today,” said Bob Picciano, IBM Senior Vice President, Cognitive Systems. “Leading organizations gain I/T value from their ability to derive actionable insights from countless structured and unstructured data sources. I call this inflection point the Insight Economy, because it is insight that is the new currency as you look to measure your I/T investments.”

5. Power Systems for AI

Increasing numbers of IBM’s enterprise clients are gaining insight by exploring emerging artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, particularly deep learning and machine learning. One reason is the ability to explore AI out of the box with IBM PowerAI software that makes getting started quicker and easier. The PowerAI platform includes some of the most popular deep learning frameworks, including our latest artificial intelligence offering, and it is optimized for installation on IBM Power Systems server infrastructure. Power Systems and PowerAI are also available on IBM Cloud. It was great getting to see these platforms in action at Think.

These five takeaways from Think 2018 are among many others that demonstrate IBM’s overall approach to drive an integrated model for innovating across the hardware and software stack. The goals are to maximize bandwidth, optimize performance and expand the horizons of technology. Along with our clients and partners, we’re betting on breakthrough technologies designed for AI and cloud workloads.

What were your top takeaways? If you missed it, you can still view many of the sessions and presentations yourself at the Think website. Go ahead and mark your calendar now as well for Think 2019, which will take place February 12–15, 2019 in San Francisco, CA. I’ll see you there!

1 Big bets in infrastructure innovation,” Think 2018, Infrastructure keynote, hosted by Tom Rosamilia, Senior VP, IBM Systems and featuring Chester Gorski, COO and CTO, Techcombank, March 2018.

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