IBM Pushes the Pedal on Cloud, Big Data, Mobile Innovation

IBM remains aggressive in pursuing innovation in its key areas of focus, including cloud computing, big data and analytics, mobile and security, among others.

IBM has been busy of late with several major announcements in areas including cloud computing, big data, security and more.

In any given week, IBM is in the thick of it with new technology announcements, partnerships and other news, but over the last couple of weeks Big Blue seems to have had a little extra going on.

For instance, on Nov. 15, IBM announced that scientists at ETH Zurich, a prominent Swiss university, and IBM Research, in collaboration with the Technical University of Munich and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), have set a new record in supercomputing in fluid dynamics using 6.4 million threads on LLNL's 96-rack "Sequoia" IBM BlueGene/Q, one of the fastest supercomputers in the world.

IBM said the team of scientists performed the largest simulation ever in fluid dynamics by employing 13 trillion cells and reaching an unprecedented, for flow simulations, 14.4 Petaflop sustained performance on Sequoia—73 percent of the supercomputer's theoretical peak.

In the security space, IBM recently announced that it is adding 11 additional schools to its more than 200 partnerships with universities around the globe, focusing on collaborating to bring cyber-security skills into the classroom. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the cyber-security field is expected to grow rapidly, increasing 22 percent by 2020. As organizations transmit and store more sensitive information electronically, the need for employees with experience in cyber-security will be imperative in order to protect data in the cloud, mobile devices and traditional computing.

As part of IBM's Academic Initiative, the company is launching new curriculum and programs focusing on cyber-security with Fordham University, Georgia Institute of Technology, San Jose State University, Southern Methodist University, Technische Universität Darmstadt in Germany, Temasek Polytechnic in Singapore, Universidad Cenfotec in Costa Rica, Universiti Kebangsaan in Malaysia, The University of South Carolina, University of Texas at Dallas and Wroclaw University of Economics in Poland.

In a move aimed at spurring innovation outside IBM, the company also recently announced plans to open its Watson cognitive computing technology up to developers. IBM said it will make its Watson technology available as a development platform in the cloud, to enable a worldwide community of software application providers to build a new generation of apps infused with Watson's cognitive computing intelligence.

The move aims to spur innovation and fuel a new ecosystem of entrepreneurial software application providers—ranging from startups and emerging, venture capital-backed businesses to established players. Together with IBM, these business partners share a vision for creating a new class of cognitive applications that transform how businesses and consumers make decisions.

To bring this vision to life, IBM will be launching the IBM Watson Developers Cloud, a cloud-hosted marketplace where application providers of all sizes and industries will be able to tap into resources for developing Watson-powered apps. This will include a developer toolkit, educational materials and access to Watson's application programming interface (API).

Meanwhile, in another major move, on Nov. 13 IBM announced a definitive agreement to acquire Fiberlink Communications, a mobile management and security company, to boost the IBM MobileFirst platform.