The month of July at IBM was filled with a slew of announcements in hardware, software, services, acquisitions, and strategic alliances. The announcements included excellent earnings for the first quarter, continued moves with the company patent portfolio, some very large contract signings, the establishment of a Center of Excellence for Nuclear Power in France, a “Global Citizen’s Portfolio” for IBM employees, and a project which will enable the company to consolidate about 3,900 computer servers onto about 30 System Z mainframes running Linux. On the people side of IBM a significant change occurred this month when Dr. Paul Horn, senior vice president, IBM Research announced his retirement from IBM after 28 years. Succeeding him is Dr. John Kelly, III, most recently senior vice president, Technology and Intellectual Property.
I first met Paul Horn in 1994 when we were both members of what was then called the senior management group. Paul was head of IBM’s Almaden Research Center and I was just beginning some grass roots efforts around the Internet. Two years later Paul took the helm at IBM Research and began a series of changes that were as profound as the evolution of the Internet. As had been the case for decades there continued to be major breakthroughs for IBM and society but Paul’s major impact was transforming IBM’s R&D and innovation model. IBM Research was already world renowned but Paul took it to the next level by increasing the focus on customer problems and speeding innovations to market that mattered to them. He also integrated exploratory work with more mature research, launched new strategic areas of huge importance such as computational biology and nanotechnology. Paul also opened up the labs to external influence and partnering with newly acquired companies and with clients.
Part of Paul’s legacy will surely be the defeat of a chess grandmaster by the famous Deep Blue chess playing supercomputer, but the more important move was placing a big bet on a totally new kind of machine called Blue Gene that could solve previously unsolvable problems. The deep computing programs that Paul developed have had a profound effect on IBM’s bottom-line while driving society-changing research programs in exploratory systems biology — work that is aiming to tackle some of the toughest problems in healthcare, like battling cancer or understanding how drugs interact with the molecules inside the human body. One of the side benefits was IBM’s entry into a multi-billion dollar life sciences business.
The best known business created by IBM Research has been around chips — prior to Paul’s reign, mostly used internally. The many advances of IBM scientists in chip design have lead to leaps in power, energy efficiency, and performance. The radical new design processes and exotic new materials pushed the limits of technology and made it possible for IBM PowerPC technology to be chosen by all of the top three game makers for the Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Playstation 3. .
Paul is a big thinker and introduced many new research disciplines including Autonomic Computing, an entire new academic discipline called Services Science, and the Global Innovation Outlook. He also built two new IBM Research labs in the emerging markets of India and China — now the two fastest growing labs in IBM.
In short, Paul Horn has turned IBM Research into an engine of growth for IBM’s software, services and hardware businesses. As Paul moves into e-tirement I have no doubt that he will continue to contribute a lot to the greater good. He has already taken up the position of Distinguished Scientist in Residence at New York University, where he plans to lecture, do research and explore book ideas.
All the other announcements made by IBM during the month are below, and the complete Index of IBM Happenings (by year and month) is here.
List of Announcements for July 2007
IBM launches new storage solutions
IBM expands R&D expertise in Europe
IBM pledges free access to patents
Gruppo Monte Paschi Siena signs services contract
Iberdrola signs $84.4 million innovation agreement
IBM establishes Center of Excellence for Nuclear Power
IDEA Cellular extends relationship with IBM
IBM reports 2007 second-quarter results
IBM to acquire DataMirror
IBM signs $1.4 billion agreement with AstraZeneca
Study reveals India’s automotive industry challenges
Head of IBM Research Paul Horn retires
IBM, IFC launch a small business toolkit
IBM announces “Global Citizen’s Portfolio”
IBM enhances integrated operating system
Keio University chooses IBM search software
IBM launches enhanced Maximo industry solution
Bank selects IBM for information on demand initiative
IBM completes acquisition of Watchfire
IBM announces server consolidation project
Time Warner, IBM enter patent agreement
IBM unveils e-mail security appliance
UAB triples its computing power with Blue Gene/L
- Complete Index of IBM Happenings (by year and month)
- Head of IBM Research Paul Horn retires; John E. Kelly, III to succeed