Much is being made on Twitter of the IBM Minds of Modern Mathematics App. Okay if you have an iPad, I suppose. According to Wired, this:
presents an interactive timeline of the history of mathematics and its impact on society from 1000 to 1960… The app is based on an original, 50-foot-long “Men of Modern Mathematics” installation created in 1964 by Charles and Ray Eames. Minds of Modern Mathematics users can view a digitized version of the original infographic as well as browse through an interactive timeline with more than 500 biographies, math milestones and images of relevant artifacts.
Wikipedia explains that Men of Modern Mathematics was connected with the exhibit Mathematica: A World of Numbers… and Beyond, originally in the new science wing of the California Museum of Science and Industry. According to the Eames Office, “committed to communicating, preserving, and extending the legacy and work of Charles and Ray Eames” who designed the exhibit, Mathematica was “intended to enlighten the amateur without embarrassing the specialist”.
Wikipedia has this to say of the Men of Modern Mathematics poster:
In 1966, five years after the opening of the Mathematica Exhibit, IBM published a 2-by-12-foot (0.61 × 3.7 m) timeline poster—titled “Men of Modern Mathematics”—based on the items displayed on the exhibit’s History Wall, and distributed free copies to academics. The timeline covers the period from 1000 AD to approximately 1950 AD, and the poster has biographical and historical items along with numerous pictures showing progress in various areas of science, including architecture.
You can view still images of the poster at the Computer History Museum website.
iPad App: Minds of Modern Mathematics.
Wired: New IBM App Presents Nearly 1,000 Years of Math History.
Watson is the computer that famously won the US game show Jeopardy last year, part of a traditional of IBM ‘grand challenges’ that includes the computer Deep Blue which in 1997 won a chess match against world champion Garry Kasparov. At the time it was reported that IBM intended Watson to be applicable in business cases where large quantities of data need sorting, for example in healthcare.
Now, in an article titled “IBM’s Watson is changing careers”, Fortune reports Watson “will soon be available as a commercialized analytics tool for data-heavy industries like healthcare, telecom and financial services”, with insurance company WellPoint acting as a pilot tester. With Watson as a cloud service, the article suggests some example applications:
A financial services firm could use it to sift through news reports and market research to find likely acquisition targets. Or a healthcare company could utilize Watson to process medical articles, prior cases and even a patient’s own medical history and identify the most likely diagnosis and best course of treatment.
Fortune acknowledges that data analytics is nothing new, but describes Watson as like “Siri… on intergalactic steroids”.
IBM has further plans for making Watson available on smartphones and tablets, and for translation to other languages “including Japanese and French”. The article also mentions competitors to IBM such as Oracle and SAP are also investing in analytics.
Source: IBM’s Watson is changing careers.
Steve Mills, senior vice president at IBM recently boasted the company was the world’s largest employer of PhD mathematicians. It is not certain whether this is true but interesting to see them making the boast.
According to a story at cio.co.uk, Mills said:
if IBM can do analytics for a power grid, it can also do them for a water supply company and transportation system. They all intersect, he said, “We build a knowledge base one on top another.” IBM is investing in areas such as astrophysics, weather forecasting and genomics “because of the intersections and overlaps with our core business,” Mills said.
“In many cases it is the same maths, it’s not like someone has invented new fields of mathematics,” he said.
Source: IBM claims most PhD mathematicians in its employ.