The Coming Era of Cognitive Computing

Jane L. Snowdon
Chief Innovation Officer, IBM Federal and Director, IBM Federal Cloud Innovation Center

2328th Meeting Abstract
Friday, February 7 2014 8:15 PM


Cognitive Computing reflects an inflection point in the information technology industry comparable in impact to the entrance of the mainframe computer in the early 1960s, the personal computer in 1981, and the commercialization of the Internet in 1995, which gave rise to the World Wide Web. Today's modern computers are architected and programmed to perform clearly defined tasks. Tomorrow's cognitive systems, using natural language processing and machine learning technologies, will learn and reason, communicate naturally with humans through voice commands and gestures, and generate their own novel insights. Cognitive systems will learn and master complexities on their own and interact to provide expert assistance to scientists, engineers, lawyers, and other professionals in a fraction of the time it now takes. This lecture will discuss how the confluence of mobile, social, cloud, Big Data, and analytics is ushering in a new era of cognitive computing and how Watson, the first cognitive system, debuted in a televised Jeopardy! challenge, is currently being trained in oncology diagnosis for healthcare professionals and in customer service as a support representative.

About the Author:

Jane Snowdon

Jane L. Snowdon is Chief Innovation Officer, IBM Federal and Director, IBM Federal Cloud Innovation Center, providing thought leadership on innovative and transformative solutions for government. She also co-chairs the Cyber Security Education and Workforce Development Working Group with Homeland Security and is a member of the INSA Council on Technology and Innovation.

Previously, as Sr. Manager for IBM Strategy and Worldwide Technical Operations, she jointly led the research strategy for IBM's twelve worldwide research centers to formulate IBM's 2013 Global Technology Outlook. As Sr. Manager for Industry Solutions Research, she was a pioneer of IBM's Smarter City initiative for energy efficient buildings research globally. She forged an IBM partnership with Columbia University, CUNY, and NYU to address New York City's energy challenges. She was a principal in an energy analysis of 1,200 K-12 school buildings and a 60 building university campus totaling over 150 million square feet. She also served as Manager of the Emerging Systems Design Department at IBM Research and led groups developing online handwriting recognition software and next-generation high performance computers. Other research at IBM included notable work on schedule planning optimization, journey management, crew pairing, and airline recovery from irregular operations.

Jane is a member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering and the Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni of Georgia Tech. She chairs the Advisory Board of the Dept. of Industrial and Systems Engineering and serves on College of Engineering Advisory Board at Georgia Tech. She also serves on the Advisory Board of CUNY Institute of Software Design and has served the community on many advisory boards in the past, as well. Jane has received numerous awards and honors and recently was honored by Girls Inc. of Westchester, NY as a role model for the next generation of women leaders.

Jane earned a BS in Industrial and Management Systems Engineering from Penn State, an MS in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is an author on more than sixty articles in mathematics, computer science, and engineering.

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