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Smart Machines: IBM’s Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing

John E. Kelly III and Steve Hamm

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October, 2013
Cloth, 160 pages,
ISBN: 978-0-231-16856-4
$22.95 / £15.95

We are crossing a new frontier in the evolution of computing and entering the era of cognitive systems. The victory of IBM’s Watson on the television quiz show Jeopardy! revealed how scientists and engineers at IBM and elsewhere are pushing the boundaries of science and technology to create machines that sense, learn, reason, and interact with people in new ways to provide insight and advice.

In Smart Machines, John E. Kelly III, director of IBM Research, and Steve Hamm, a writer at IBM and a former business and technology journalist, introduce the fascinating world of “cognitive systems” to general audiences and provide a window into the future of computing. Cognitive systems promise to penetrate complexity and assist people and organizations in better decision making. They can help doctors evaluate and treat patients, augment the ways we see, anticipate major weather events, and contribute to smarter urban planning. Kelly and Hamm’s comprehensive perspective describes this technology inside and out and explains how it will help us conquer the harnessing and understanding of “big data,” one of the major computing challenges facing businesses and governments in the coming decades. Absorbing and impassioned, their book will inspire governments, academics, and the global tech industry to work together to power this exciting wave in innovation.

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About the Author

John E. Kelly III is senior vice president and director of IBM Research, one of the world’s largest commercial research organizations, with more than 3,000 scientists and technical employees operating in twelve laboratories in ten countries. He also helps guide IBM’s overall technical strategy. Kelly’s top priorities as head of IBM Research are to stimulate innovation in key areas of information technology and quickly bring those innovations into the marketplace.

Steve Hamm is a writer and videographer for IBM after working in business and technology journalism. Most recently, he was a senior writer at BusinessWeek magazine. He is the author of two books, Bangalore Tiger: How Indian Tech Upstart Wipro Is Rewriting the Rules of Global Competition and The Race for Perfect: Inside the Quest to Design the Ultimate Portable Computer.

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