Saturday, September 22, 2012

Kirk Goldsberry - Spatial and Visual Analytics: Giving the World an MRI

A few seats left: Monday, September 24, 3:30 to 5:00 PM (EDT) at the IBM Center for Social Business, Cambridge, MA

Join us for a talk with Kirk Goldsberry, a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University’s Center for Geographic Analysis and an Assistant Professor of Geography at Michigan State University.

Kirk's research focuses on the visual dimensions of analytical communication. He is particularly interested in the links between visual form, graphic design, and spatial reasoning. This avenue of research is significantly influenced by the principles of cartography, visualization, cognitive psychology, vision science, spatial analysis, and human computer interaction.

Kirk received a Ph.D. from the Department of Geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in August, 2007. His dissertation investigated real-time traffic maps - both to understand and enhance their future design.

More recently, Kirk found a way to blend his research expertise and his love of basketball; in 2010, he developed CourtVision, an ensemble of analytical techniques designed to quantify, visualize, and communicate spatial aspects of NBA performance with exceptional precision and clarity.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

IBM Research Cambridge is looking for a UX Research Design Engineer

Do you consider yourself to be both a designer and an engineer? When you look at a user interface, do you envision a different way of presenting the information? Do you play with visualization toolkits in your spare time?

The IBM Collaborative User Experience Research group, part of IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center, is looking for someone who can both design and contribute to building innovative visual interfaces, tools for new ways of collaborating, and one-of-a-kind visualizations for exploring complex data analytics.

In this role, you will join a team of researchers and developers who are setting the standard of design of social media tools for businesses. Our research focuses on collaboration and social media for businesses, and our goal is to imagine and invent the future of how people will work together. Our applications and research discoveries inform IBM's next generation of products for workplace collaboration and data analytics.

Our ideal candidate will have a combination of the following skills:
  • Demonstrated experience in designing the user interface of database-driven Web and mobile applications, bringing these designs from concept through to a working prototype
  • Demonstrated ability to distill a complex data set into an impactful and insightful visual representation of the data
  • Expertise in the Adobe Creative Suite or similar
  • Expertise in Web UI technologies (HTML, CSS, AJAX, and JavaScript)
  • Experience with one or more web application frameworks such as Ruby on Rails or J2EE
  • Experience with one or more data visualization tools such as D3 or Raphaeljs
  • Experience developing mockups and prototypes to effectively communicate interaction and design ideas
  • Strong interest in social media, communication tools, and data
  • Strong interest in research questions about user behavior
  • Excellent leadership, communication and teamwork skills
Click here to learn more about this position and to apply.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

August 10 IBM Research Colloquia, "Box Office to Front Office: Winning with Big Data"

On Friday, August 10, 2012, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. US Pacific time, the IBM Research Colloquia, "Box Office to Front Office: Winning with Big Data," will convene Bay Area thought leaders and experts in sports and entertainment for a discussion on using Big, Fast Data to engage consumers, develop products and drive revenue.

Join the livestream web event to hear how our panelists are using Big, Fast Data to deliver measurable growth in their markets, how global brands are shifting from understanding markets to understanding people to drive deeper engagement, and exploring how leading sports, media and entertainment companies are rethinking their data environments to create new value – using analytics and social and mobile technologies to innovate customer life cycles, create differentiated experiences and engage with key stakeholders.
The event will be hosted by a member of the Center for Social Business, IBM researcher Jeff Nichols,  on the People for a Smarter Planet Facebook page.

Go to the IBM Research Blog for more information about the event, the panelists, and to register.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

New mobile application from IBM Research offers retail consumers augmented reality

So, what is augmented reality?

While in-store shopping accounts for the vast majority of retail sales, consumers are expecting the same levels of personalization and customization that they do when they shop online. In fact, 19 percent of consumers are already browsing their mobile devices while in-store. Scientists at the IBM Research lab in Haifa are looking to bring all the benefits of online shopping into traditional, brick-and-mortar stores and are creating a new augmented reality mobile shopping app that will give in-store shoppers instant product details and promotions through their mobile devices.

The new IBM Research app will offer shoppers product comparisons and special offers as they move throughout the store. It captures images via the built-in video camera on a user's smart phone or tablet and uses advanced image processing technologies to quickly and accurately identify a product or row of items. Once the app recognizes the products, it will display information above the product images and rank them based on a number of criteria, such as price and nutritional value. It will also provide the shopper with any loyalty rewards or incentives that may apply and suggest complementary items based on what the customer has already viewed. 

Want to learn more?  Check out the full article on the IBM Research site.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Spend your summer at IBM Research! Late-breaking Opening for Web/viz Development Intern

It's not too late to find a great summer internship at IBM Research!

Job Description:
We are looking for a highly motivated student to participate in an exciting project on social media visualization in collaboration with several visualization and human-computer interaction researchers across several IBM Research labs. The project involves design and development of novel real-time visualizations of status data from social networking websites to help users understand quality and quantity of the content and structure of evolving topics of discussions. The work will involve development of a scalable back-end architecture for capturing streaming data, extracting features from data and meta-data, aggregating and transforming data, defining visualizations in a declarative specification language, and possibly extending the declarative visualization language, as well as front-end graphical user interface for rendering and interacting with visualizations.

Technical Skills:
Web Development: Javascript, Dojo Framework,
Familiarity with existing web-based visualization frameworks would be a plus.
Familiarity with AJAX and Comet server communication approaches is preferred.
Backend Development: Java (J2EE),
Experience with database design and querying from J2EE applications would be a plus.

Location can be either Cambridge, MA or San Jose, CA.

Submit resume to

Can Social Games Solve America’s Biggest Health Challenge? A talk with Rajiv Kumar, MD , Founder of ShapeUp

The IBM Center for Social Business welcomes Dr. Rajiv Kumar, literally a game changer in tackling healthcare issues. His company, ShapeUp, designs social games for companies that bring employees together to help each other stay healthy. The theory: peer support and accountability are the keys to wellness.

Monday, June 18, 3:30 - 5:00. Refreshments @ 3:30. Talk @ 3:45.

To register:

About Rajiv's talk
Facing rapidly rising health care costs driven by unhealthy behaviors and a national obesity epidemic, self-insured employers have told their employees to “shape up.” But regular physical activity and healthy eating are easier said than done. Many years and millions of dollars have been wasted on employee wellness programs that get astonishingly low participation.

Social gaming is changing that. ShapeUp has developed an online behavior change solution for employee populations that uses social gaming, in the form of team-based competitions, to activate, motivate, and guide participants toward reaching their healthy goals. This approach generates extraordinary company-wide engagement rates and has been shown to produce clinically significant health outcomes.  
This talk will describe how ShapeUp has used social games over the past 5 years to reach 2 million lives across 93 countries at companies like HP, Aetna, Raytheon, and Sprint. It will also explore how the latest advances in mobile apps, personal fitness devices, and real-time rewards are creating new ways to enhance the wellness experience.

Rajiv Kumar on how ShapeUp came to be
"During medical school, I realized that many of the worst health problems we face as a nation--diabetes, heart disease, cancer, hypertension, osteoarthritis, depression--are related to our collective unhealthy lifestyle. I also learned through my clinical encounters that the patients who succeeded in adopting and sustaining healthy behaviors were those who leveraged their trusted social network for support, motivation, and accountability.

By launching a community non-profit organization (Shape Up Rhode Island) and a for-profit company (ShapeUp), I've dedicated my life to helping people reverse and prevent obesity-related illnesses through group behavior change models.

Our goal is to build the largest online social application that connects people around the world to improve their health."
You can follow Rajiv on Twitter.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Jennifer Thom: Why She is a Woman to Watch

Jenn Thom portrait

This morning, Jenn Thom was one of 20 women honored at the 2012 Women to Watch Breakfast sponsored by Mass High Tech. The MHT annual program is nine years strong, and each year names honorees in various fields. This year the program has recognized women in tech and life sciences who are thought leaders in their field and shaping the future of their industries for years to come, and honorees were selected from more than 100 nominations.

Why Jenn Thom? 
Jenn is a Research Scientist in the Visual Communications Lab, part of the Collaborative User Experience Group at IBM Research in Cambridge. She is a rising star in the field of human-computer interaction and its intersection with social business technology. In 2009, she received a Ph.D. from Cornell University, where her dissertation work focused on how users express territorial behaviors in online collaborative spaces. Her current research focus includes computer-supported collaborative work (CSCW), intercultural communication and collaboration, and social networking. As social media moves beyond the consumer market and is rapidly being adopted and adapted by the corporate world, Thom is studying the acceptance and usage of social media by companies and how it affects user interactions and collaboration.

In November 2011, her research in gamification – the use of game design techniques in non-game technologies - was featured in the Wired magazine article, IBM Proves Playing Virtual Games is Serious Business.  In February 2012, this research was cited in the Daily SEO Blog article, "What Community Builders Can Learn From Research."  You can find her current list of research publications in ResearchGate.

In March 2012, at South by Southwest, Jenn was invited to be a panelist on the Maps of Time, Data as Narrative panel (now podcast) - a discussion about the relationship between visualized data and the histories we tell.

In April, the MHT Review spotlighted Jenn in this article, "2012 Women to Watch: Jennifer Thom."
We know we will hear more from and about Jenn Thom. Congratulations on well deserved recognition.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Open Pediatrics: Web-based Critical Pediatric Medical Care for All - a talk with Dr. Jeffrey Burns of Children's Hospital Boston

What:  First Spring 2012 speaker series talk 
When:  May 14, 3:30-05:00
Where: IBM Research, Cambridge, MA
Register here on Eventbrite (map and directions included)

Dr. Jeffrey Burns of Childrens Hospital Boston
The IBM Center for Social Business welcomes Dr. Jeffrey P. Burns, a game changer in pediatric care, who has an amazing story to tell. He will share a journey that began as a dream to help pediatric medical staff in places around the world who did not have access to critical knowledge they needed to save kids lives. 

While watching the Masters in 2009, he saw an interactive "see and do" web site he thought could do exactly what he wanted. As it turned out, this site was designed by IBM Interactive, with a group based in Cambridge. After a three-year collaboration between Dr. Burns and a Cambridge-based IBM Interactive team led by Adam Cutler, Open Pediatrics is a reality.

The soon-to-be-released web-based educational application will be a resource for pediatric critical care givers around the world. By harnessing the reach of the Internet, access to the latest knowledge about effective health care will no longer be bottle necked within the walls of institutions. It can now be shared instantly so that clinicians across the globe can gain access to life-saving information at any time.

This comprehensive, continually updated, and peer-reviewed knowledge exchange platform is dedicated to providing multimedia and interactive educational resources to physicians and nurses on optimal care of the critically ill child.  The site's mission is to provide information on demand, curricular learning maps for training clinicians, and a platform for knowledge exchange and collaboration between care providers around the world.

The beta release will include 1000 users in hospitals across six continents. A total of 9 modules will cover a range of topics pertinent to the care of critically ill children. Each topic will include expert content, including video lectures and demonstrations, pre- and post- topic knowledge assessments, and best practice protocols and guidelines. When applicable, a module will include a simulator or avatar-based simulations for more comprehensive and interactive learning.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Now on Youtube - Race Against the Machine: A Conversation with Andrew McAfee

Andrew McAfee studies how Information Technology (IT) affects businesses and business as a whole. His research investigates how IT changes the way companies perform, organize themselves, and compete. At a higher level, his work also investigates how computerization affects competition itself –  the struggle among rivals for dominance and survival within an industry. 

McAfee's November 2011 talk at the Center for Social Business, based on his recent book, Race Against the Machine, is now on YouTube. In this talk, he brings together statistics, examples, and arguments to show that technological progress is accelerating, and that this trend has deep consequences for skills, wages, and jobs. Workers whose skills have been mastered by computers have less to offer the job market and see their wages and prospects shrink. Entrepreneurial business models, new organizational structures, and different institutions are needed to ensure that the average worker is not left behind by cutting-edge machines.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Interview with Irene Greif on Social Business - What and Why

The former Center for Social Software is now the Center for Social Business. There are many reasons for changing our name. The main one is that our research has become focused on helping our clients transform themselves into social businesses.

The first question to ask and understand is, "What is a social business?"  Watch this Lenny Liebmann, IT columnist, interview with Irene Greif, the Director of the Center, as she explains how a social business looks and acts.