Studies have shown that early exposure to mathematics and science lead to educational success in later years. When children are engaged in rich learning activities that foster key math, science and language skills in a fun and interactive way – sometimes not even being aware of how much they are learning in the process – the results can be magical. Since 1998, IBM’s KidSmart Early Learning Program has helped educators incorporate technology into early learning classrooms with innovative teaching activities that make learning fun. KidSmart helps teachers foster in young children a love of math, science, reading, and working collaboratively that will be essential to their continued success.
At the core of the KidSmart program is Young Explorer™ – a computer housed in brightly colored, child-friendly Little Tikes™ furniture, and equipped with award-winning educational software that helps children learn about and explore concepts in math, science, and language. IBM’s grant of 75 Young Explorers™ to Pre-K classrooms in Newark will help launch the city’s young children toward a successful educational experience. The $180,000 investment, which is being distributed by United Way, is part of IBM’s $4.3 million nationwide initiative to provide more than 1,700 Young Explorers™ and accompanying program materials to schools and nonprofit organizations that serve disadvantaged children.
Giving students a positive learning experience with STEM-related activities as early as possible helps lay a solid foundation for their future success. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) jobs have grown three times faster than non-STEM opportunities over the last 10 years. With STEM proficiency, even workers without college degrees or high school diplomas will earn an average of 36 percent more than their non-STEM contemporaries. And throughout the current economic crisis – when unemployment rates have reached as high as 10 percent in the general population, and double that among historically underserved populations – joblessness among STEM workers has held steady at 5.3 percent. So when we look ahead at the labor market projections, it becomes clear that it’s never too early to begin our children’s instruction in science and math.
Today is Safer Internet Day, and IBM is rallying around the globe to help inform students and teachers about how to safely manage their presence online. As an IBM employee, I frequently get requests from friends asking me how to put controls on their computers for their kids. Although I am not personally an expert on security, I wanted to share the tools that IBM has released in conjunction with Safer Internet Day. These tools for Internet safety and controlling one’s identity online can help anyone understand what it means to be digitally responsible.
I am a parent of two children, and their easy access to the Internet scares me. To pass the time in long lines at the supermarket, I will hand my daughter my iPhone so she can play on it or surf the Internet. My two-year-old already knows how to use her pointer finger to “turn pages” online to read an ebook. While I want my children to be digitally savvy, I also know that it is essential for them to learn to be digitally responsible. Teaching digital responsibility to my young children is a key part of my responsibility as a parent.
By the time kids reach middle school, they’re likely to know as much or more about the Internet as their parents. Children use the Internet for schoolwork, to play games, to send email and instant messages, for downloading music, for shopping, and for entering contests. Although they know their way around the web, they may lack the judgment and emotional maturity to steer clear of trouble.
It is everyone’s role to understand the ramifications of their actions online. Parents should make use of IBM’s guides on Cyberbullying, Internet Safety Coaching, and Controlling Your Online Identity as a starting point to learn more about protecting their children (and themselves) online.
Please check out this post from IBM’s Security Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer discussing how your “individual actions can make the difference to protect your reputation, your physical safety, your financial information, and the integrity and safety of the digital devices and networks that you may use and that our society relies upon.”
Lisa Lanspery is Manager of Corporate Communications at IBM, and the mother of two young children.
There has never been a more challenging time for philanthropy. Globalization, natural disasters and economic turmoil have placed additional stresses on social safety nets that have already been stretched to the max. In this environment, the philanthropic sector must be smarter, more adaptable, and more collaborative. We have to claim our seat at the table or risk being on the menu.
Ann Cramer is Americas Director, IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and Chair of the Public Policy Committee of the Council on Foundations.
IBM Senior Information Technology Architect John Lamb, Ph.D. explains the inner workings of World Community Grid, and how it contributes to humanitarian research while helping to reduce the environmental impact of large-scale computing.
By making use of our unused compute power, World Community Grid has saved an immense amount of electrical energy and reduced the carbon footprint that would have resulted from the use of traditional High Performance Computing. World Community Grid is a significant contributor to green information technology (IT) and is a great way for anyone to be involved in green IT with the added benefit of helping to address global environmental and health concerns.
World Community Grid is based on grid computing, and like cloud computing – the subset of grid computing that includes utility computing and other approaches to sharing computing resources – is based on the concept of IT virtualization. The IT industry is on a track to use virtualization to manage the needs of IT customers in a way that helps reduce the needs for energy consumption and computer hardware. For each of its projects, World Community Grid aggregates the unused computing power of more than 200,000 donor machines around the world to form a virtual supercomputer. World Community Grid then makes its massive computing power available free of charge to humanitarian research projects – everything from the search for cures for disease to simulations that yield insights into global environmental concerns.
One of those concerns – the energy resources and carbon footprint associated with large-scale computing – is addressed directly by World Community Grid. In fact, some World Community Grid research projects are environmental in nature and are helping to reduce carbon footprint in other ways. Searching for new molecular compounds that could be used to make less expensive and more efficient solar cells is just one example.
By consolidating the unused computing power of machines that in some cases draw 30 to 40 percent of their maximum energy requirements even when idle, World Community Grid is designed to help reduce environmental impact. This is detailed by the chart below, which shows the typical utilization rates of different classes of computers – from large corporate mainframes to the Intel-based servers used for smaller computing jobs and in most PCs.
Multi-million dollar mainframes typically are utilized on a 24/7 basis at least partly because of the large financial investments they represent. Mainframe processes are typically computing intensive, and are run at all times – including nights and weekends. By contrast, smaller Intel-based servers are not typically used at night or on weekends. Therefore, creating virtual servers from underutilized Intel-based machines not only allows much better and easier sharing of resources, but also distributes utilization more evenly on the large physical machines that host virtual servers.
The PCs that supply their unused computing power to World Community Grid have similar characteristics to underutilized Intel-based servers. Most Intel-based servers are only utilized between five and 15 percent of the time, and most PCs – in terms of their true computing capacity – are utilized almost none of the time!
It is important to note that World Community Grid aggregates spare computing time unobtrusively and without substantially increasing energy consumption. Contributors to World Community Grid are not asked use their computers any differently than normal.
That is, they are not asked to run them 24/7 or prevent them from going to sleep or shutting down. In addition, World Community Grid defaults to using only 60 percent of spare computing time to use less energy. On a typical laptop computer, World Community Grid use increases power consumption by only three watts – less than an incandescent night light. Community members also can adjust the default 60 percent figure to whatever is preferred or appropriate for their hardware or software.
By making use of otherwise unused compute power, World Community Grid saves an immense amount of electrical energy and reduces the carbon footprint typically associated with High Performance Computing using supercomputers. A supercomputer, in addition to its own power consumption, needs a very large additional amount of power for cooling. World Community Grid avoids this issue since participating machines are usually single units that do not substantially increase the heat in their environments. Thus, running a research project on World Community Grid typically requires much smaller energy expenditure than running the same project on a supercomputer.
All of these factors enable World Community Grid to make significant contributions to green IT. As one of the hundreds of thousands of contributors to World Community Grid, I am proud to help support vital humanitarian research while helping to bring about the greening
John Lamb is a Senior Technical Staff Member and Senior Certified IT Architect for IBM. Dr. Lamb is the author of The Greening of IT: How Companies Can Make a Difference for the Environment (2009).