The best of IBM 2020

In a challenging year, these 12 stories gave cause to celebrate and hope for the future

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    COVID-19 research

    Supercomputers added muscle to the vaccine search

    As his cousin fought off coronavirus, IBM’s Dario Gil called the White House. The result: colleagues and competitors in industry, academia and government worked together to form the COVID‑19 High Performance Computing Consortium, giving research scientists free access to the world’s fastest supercomputers.

    Read how the story unfolded as the virus took hold

    That’s Debatable

    AI improved public discourse on a new TV show

    Hundreds of participants made their voices heard by submitting arguments to three debate topics for That’s Debatable. The show, which aired on Bloomberg TV, illustrated Watson’s ability to analyze the arguments, identify key points and formulate salient summary narratives.

    Explore the tech that made it possible

    Forecast: 5 in 5

    Medical research got a boost

    How do humans outthink and outmaneuver a fast-spreading virus? One of this year’s “5 in 5” predictions highlights the significant role AI, analytics and data will have in accelerating the analysis and identification of potential virus treatments from drugs already in market.

    Read more and explore the other predictions

    Cloud for financial services

    Financial institutions got a cloud of their own

    Financial service providers have the highest standards for security and privacy. This year, IBM built them a cloud to match. Now banks can deploy services confidently on a public cloud to deliver new and improved customer experiences while meeting strict compliance regulations for data privacy and security.

    Learn about the dedicated cloud for finance

    Cybersecurity Ops

    Games taught us about cybersecurity

    There’s been a breach. How would you respond? TERMINAL gamified the ability to protect an airport’s critical network from malicious hackers in real time. Players can appreciate the gravity of cybersecurity ops while white-knuckling their way through a multi-vector threat, brought to life by IBM Security Intelligence.

    Experience a breach firsthand — and try to stop it

    The quantum look ahead

    A roadmap pointed the way to a new industry

    Of things that need to be kept incredibly cold, the most extreme might be quantum computers at −459.67°F. In September, IBM laid the groundwork for a quantum industry in the Roadmap to Quantum Advantage, including a unique super-fridge where the most powerful quantum computer ever built will chill out.

    Find out where it could lead us

    Corporate social responsibility

    A pledge to stand for racial justice

    2020 exposed various forms of systemic racism and IBM responded. In addition to matching donations 1-to-1, sunsetting facial recognition tech and expanding educational opportunities, IBM issued the Emb(race) pledge so IBMers can reaffirm their commitment to racial advocacy.

    Become an effective ally and take the pledge

    Think 2020’s virtual success

    IBM’s premier event opened up during lockdown

    In early May, as we continued to adjust to our surreal new reality, Think met the challenge. Sessions and labs moved online and on demand, hosted by IBM’s new executive lineup. Music maker Imogen Heap scored the event with an ethereal sonic identity based on ambient sounds of systems and science.

    Learn how the Watson Research Center set her tone

    Mayflower Autonomous Ship

    No captain. No crew. No problem.

    The Mayflower Autonomous Ship ushered in a new era of marine exploration. Relying on AI, cloud and edge technologies to self-navigate, the ship is pioneering a cost‑effective and flexible platform for gathering data that will help safeguard the health of the ocean and the industries it supports.

    Watch the docuseries for an inside look

    Call for Code

    Dev teams solved for our most pressing issues

    The tech-for-good competition Call for Code tackled its most ambitious topics yet: COVID‑19, climate change and racial justice. Top solutions such as Agrolly, an app with information tailored to small farmers, and SafeQueue, which holds your place in line virtually, qualified for deployment by IBM.

    Explore the stories of the winning entries


    IBM celebrated the power of new perspectives

    Autistic and neurodivergent individuals often exhibit skills that make them exceptional employees, yet they can struggle to get through the standard hiring practice. IBM is bringing more of these candidates on board and giving them the tools to reach their potential.

    Read about the IBM employees behind the effort

    Cloud at the Masters

    Golf’s most iconic moment became massively customizable

    IBM Cloud and Watson AI empowered viewers to shape the tournament’s coverage around their taste. For the first time, fans could watch the players they care about most, while Watson AI captured the day’s overall top strokes.

    See how the IBM Cloud powered the best fan experience in golf