25 Things You Might Not Know About IBM

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25 Things You Might Not Know About IBM

By Darryl K. Taft

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IBM earned 4,186 U.S. patents in 2008, becoming the first firm to collect more than 4,000 U.S. patents in a single year. IBM's 2008 patent issuances exceed those of Microsoft, HP, Oracle, Apple, EMC, Accenture and Google combined.

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Since the acquisition of Lotus in 1995, IBM has bought more than 130 companies.

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IBM has seen substantial growth in the number of senior women executives globally from 185 in 1997 to more than 1,000 today. Sixty-five percent of IBMs women executives are working mothers.

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IBM worked with the City of Stockholm on a new smart toll system that has resulted in 22 percent less traffic, a 12 to 40 percent drop in emissions and 40,000 additional daily users of the public transport system.

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IBM supplies the various processor chips that power the Sony PlayStation, the Nintendo Wii and the Microsoft Xbox 360.

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In May 1997, IBM demonstrated Deep Blue, a 32-node IBM RS/6000 SP computer programmed to play chess on a world-class level. In a six-game match in New York, Deep Blue defeated World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov. Recently, IBM unveiled the details of its plans to build a computing system that can understand complex questions and answer with enough precision and speed to compete on the quiz show "Jeopardy."

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The first major use of bubble wrap as packing material was for the IBM 1401 computer system.

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All of the world's top 50 worldwide banks use the IBM mainframe. In the first quarter of 2009, IBM announced that its System z mainframe business grew 37 percent in emerging markets such as China and India.

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Five IBM employees have won Nobel Prizes for physics.

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Technologies developed at IBM or by IBMers: magnetic stripe, UPC bar codes ... floppy disks ... hard disk drives ... vacuum tape drives ... relational databases ... Random Access Memory ... RAMAC, the world's first computer disk storage system.

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IBM's World Community Grid, a virtual supercomputer that gains its power from individuals who donate their unused computer time, has more than 440,000 members around the world with more than 1.2 million devices connected. It runs humanitarian research such as seeking cures for childhood cancer, AIDS/HIV and influenza.

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With more than 175,000 professionals working with clients in 170 countries, IBM Global Services is the world's largest business services provider.

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IBM introduced the first computerized golf scoreboard at the 1967 Greater Dallas Open.

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At the end of 2008, IBM recorded $103.6 billion in revenue, $12.3 billion net income and $109.5 billion total assets. The company had 564,244 stockholders of record.

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IBM's new Power 575 supercomputer uses a first-of-its-kind system in which water-chilled copper plates are located above each microprocessor, continually removing heat from the electronics. IBM scientists estimate that water can be up to 4,000 times more effective in cooling computer systems than air.

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IBM was incorporated in the state of New York on June 16, 1911 as the Computing Tabulating Recording Company.

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IBM scientists in 1993 developed a new research technique, called scanning tunneling microscopy, which produced for the first time three-dimensional images of the atomic surfaces of silicon, gold, nickel and other solids.

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On Feb. 3, the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration selected Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as the site for a new supercomputer, Sequoia, to be delivered in 2011 and deployed in 2012. It will be based on future IBM BlueGene technology and exceed 20 petaflops—or 20 million billion calculations per second. You would need a stack of laptop computers 30 miles high—2 million of todays fastest laptops—to equal Sequoia's performance.

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The IBM Electromatic was the world's first commercially successful electric typewriter. An IBMer still holds the record for world's fastest typist—216 words per minute, set in 1946.

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IBM is working with several utilities around the world to add a layer of digital intelligence to their grids. These smart grids use sensors, meters, digital controls and analytic tools to automate, monitor and control the two-way flow of energy across operations, from power plant to plug. A power company can optimize grid performance, prevent outages, restore outages faster and allow consumers to manage energy usage.

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Both sons of IBM President Thomas J. Watson Sr. served as U.S. ambassadors—Arthur K. Watson was ambassador to France, and Thomas J. Watson Jr. was ambassador to the Soviet Union.

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IBM has developed a 3D avatar to help doctors visualize patients' medical records to improve healthcare. IBM played a major role in developing the heart lung machine, invented the first continuous blood separator which is used to treat leukemia patients, and helped develop the field of relaxometry which plays a role in medical magnetic resonance imagery (MRI).

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More than 130,000 IBM employees and retirees are registered to the company's global volunteer program called the On Demand Community, and have served more than 8.6 million hours of community service since late 2003.

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Noted architect I.M. Pei designed the IBM office complex in Somers, N.Y., with its distinctive pyramid features, as well as the atrium in a company office building in Armonk, N.Y.

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