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Guest Contributors
November 21st, 2014
14:24
 

The Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC) of Philadelphia recently hosted its annual fundraising event, and I was reminded of the valuable partnerships that are helping us transform the quality of life for our city’s young adults. The UAC’s mission is to “unite government, business, neighborhoods, and individual initiatives to improve the quality of life in the region, build wealth in urban communities, and solve emerging issues.” Our partner
IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs has played a critical role in helping us meet our goals. The fundraising event attracted more than $500,000 in donations, and brought together over 900 community and business leaders to help us fulfill our mission.

IBM Global Citizenship Initiatives Vice President Diane Melley (on right) and Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen receive the Edward G. Rendell “Doer” Award from Urban Affairs Coalition President and CEO Sharmain Matlock-Turner

IBM Global Citizenship Initiatives Vice President Diane Melley (on right) and Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen receive the Edward G. Rendell “Doer” Award from Urban Affairs Coalition President and CEO Sharmain Matlock-Turner

As the fiscal sponsor for more than 55 partner organizations, UAC provides back-end financial and human resources support that frees non-profit organizations to dedicate
their time, talent and treasure to providing crucial services for more 150,000 adults,
youth and children. UAC aspires to become a high-tech, high-touch, high-quality resource for our partner organizations, and IBM is helping us on this journey. With the help of an
IBM Technology Road Map Impact Grant, we developed a scalable technology strategy that will enable us to meet our partners’ needs today and into the future.

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As philanthropy has evolved in America, nonprofits, funders, and municipalities have
begun to adopt a “Collective Impact” model for collaborating to help solve their communities’ most pressing issues. Using a core organizational structure, Collective Impact communities build solutions based on a common vision, continuous communication, mutually reinforcing activities and shared metrics for success. To manage significant issues of social change – for example, fighting hunger, ending homelessness, eliminating educational disparities – the Collective Impact model also seeks collaboration between the public and private sectors.

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In North Carolina, United Way of the Greater Triangle currently is transforming itself
from a traditional funder into a Collective Impact organization to champion community-level solutions more effectively. We believe we can address critical societal issues – and create sustainable change – by working with a network of companies, nonprofits and community leaders. But to affect this comprehensive and holistic approach to community engagement, our decisions need to be driven by data and based in fact. That’s why United Way
of the Greater Triangle was delighted to receive an IBM Impact Grant for SPSS Predictive Analytics.

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Dengue fever is a debilitating tropical disease that threatens 40 percent of the world’s population. As part of World Community Grid’s 10th anniversary celebrations, research partner Stan Watowich, Ph.D., talks about how the program enabled his team to identify a new drug lead that could stop the virus in its tracks.

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Dengue fever, also known as “breakbone fever”, causes excruciating joint and muscle pain, high fever and headaches. Severe dengue, known as “dengue hemorrhagic fever”, has become a leading cause of hospitalization and death among children in many Asian and Latin American countries. According to the World Health Organization, more than 40 percent of the world’s population is at risk from dengue – with one study estimating that there were 390 million cases in 2010 alone. The mosquito-borne infectious disease is found in tropical and sub-tropical regions primarily in the developing world, and belongs to the flavivirus family of viruses, together with Hepatitis C, West Nile and Yellow Fever.

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Although dengue represents a critical global health concern, it has received limited attention from affluent countries until recently, and is widely considered to be a neglected tropical disease. Since no approved vaccines or treatments exist for the disease, we launched Discovering Dengue Drugs – Together on IBM’s World Community Grid in 2007 – using a computer-based discovery approach to search for drugs to treat dengue infections.

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November 13th, 2014
7:00
 

In business and in education, much of one’s success can be traced to fruitful relationships and partnerships. At a recent event in Newburgh, New York, the 50 students of Excelsior Academy – the new P-TECH model school housed at the North campus of Newburgh Free Academy – were introduced to the IBM mentors who will help guide them through their innovative program. Excelsior Academy is one of 16 new P-TECH schools that has opened across New York State this year. Each new school leverages public-private partnerships among school districts, community colleges and corporate sponsors.

An IBM mentor meets with her Excelsior Academy student protégé

An IBM mentor meets with her Excelsior Academy student protégé

The mentor-protégé relationship is essentially important to Excelsior students, who over time will turn to their mentors for guidance, advice, support and encouragement. Similarly, the partnership between the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, IBM and SUNY Orange will create seamless pathways for students to move from the halls of Newburgh Free Academy to the classrooms at SUNY Orange and ultimately, into a productive job with IBM or another of the many employers within the Hudson Valley.

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From West Point to two deployments in Afghanistan over the following eight years, I had spent my entire adult life in the military when I decided it was time for a change. The prospect of transition was challenging and exciting – both personally and professionally. On one hand, life in the Army can offer certain degrees of predictability that are reinforced by the insular nature of the military community. But on the other hand, the military – and the world of military and federal contracting that many former officers move into – can be limiting for some. It’s hard to grow when you never leave your comfort zone. Add to that the difficulties of managing a new marriage when you’re away from your spouse for months or a year at a time, and I was ready to transition to corporate life. The only question was: How?

Jennifer and her wife Kara after completing the Hershey Half Marathon in Hershey, PA

Jennifer and her wife Kara after completing the Hershey Half Marathon in Hershey, PA

The answer came through the incredible relationship I developed with my IBM mentor through the American Corporate Partners (ACP) program. ACP was founded to help Iraq and Afghanistan-era veterans make successful transitions to corporate careers. Partnering corporations such as IBM provide mentors for one-on-one counseling on everything from packaging one’s military expertise in ways that are meaningful to corporate employers,
to refining one’s “soft” skills to address differences in language and etiquette between
the military and corporate worlds. My IBM mentor Ladan Karkooki impressed me with her genuine interest in veterans’ transition issues. Ladan’s advice and support were instrumental to my successful introduction to corporate life, and she even hired me for
my first post-military job!

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Accurate diagnosis and treatment is essential when it comes to tackling cancer. As part of World Community Grid’s 10th anniversary celebrations, research partner David J. Foran, Ph.D., writes about how the program enabled his team to develop a new tool for doctors to diagnose cancer and tailor treatments to individual patients using big data and analytics.

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When it comes to cancer, a doctor’s diagnosis affects how aggressively a patient is treated, which medications might be appropriate and what levels of risk are justified.
New precision medicine techniques are enabling physicians and scientists to refine diagnoses by identifying changes and patterns in individual cancers at unprecedented levels of granularity – ultimately improving treatment outcomes for patients.

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A key tool for precision medicine is tissue microarray analysis. This process enables investigators to analyze large batches of tissue sample images simultaneously so they
can look for patterns and identify cancer signatures. It also provides them with a deeper understanding of cancer biology and uncovers new sub-classifications of cancer and likely patient responses – all of which influence new courses of treatment and future drug design.

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IBM, 한국의 산업계에서 필요로 하는 인재육성 지원

As Vice President of the Seoul Career Guidance Teachers’ Association, I am keenly aware of the critical relationships among South Korea’s senior high schools, colleges and universities, and the job market in our growing economy. The future of Korea is dependent on the development of science and technology, so we are hoping that more of our top students will pursue studies in the natural sciences and engineering.

저는 서울 진로진학상담교사 협회 부회장으로서, 경제성장 속에서의 한국 고등학교, 대학교 그리고 취업 간의 중요한 관계에 대해 대단히 관심이 많습니다. 한국의 미래는 과학, 기술의 발전에 달려있으며, 우리는 우리의 역량 있는 학생들이 자연과학과 엔지니어링을 관심을 갖고 공부할 수 있기를 희망합니다.

IBMers in Korea conduct a STEM Careers Workshop for high school teachers and guidance counselors in Seoul

IBMers in Korea conduct a STEM Careers Workshop for high school teachers and guidance counselors in Seoul

In my school, of the 68 percent of students focusing on STEM careers, many are choosing to do medicine. And after 60 teachers attended IBM’s recent workshop on STEM careers, we are now able to inspire the students to get involved in Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

저희 학교 1학년 중 68%의 이공계 선택 학생 중 대부분의 우수한 학생들은 의과대학을 진학하기 위해 이공계를 선택했습니다. 지난 8월 27일 60여명의 진로진학상담교사가 IBM의 최근 워크샵에 참여한 이후로, 우리는 학생들이 보다 ICT(정보통신기술)에 관심을 갖도록 독려할 수 있게 되었습니다.

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The term “Boot Camp” typically conjures visions of green recruits being drilled in the basics of their chosen discipline. But the group of college students that assembled at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum for the City University of New York-IBM Watson Case Competition on October 24 and 25, 2014 looked more like a class from Top Gun. More than 300 students from 18 of CUNY’s 24 colleges and professional schools registered for the competition that had begun more than a month earlier. And by the time the Intrepid Boot Camp rolled around, the 44 teams that had submitted preliminary business cases had been winnowed to 33.

The CUNY-IBM Watson Case Competition offers teams of young innovators the chance to explore how to use IBM Watson cognitive technology to improve the quality and effectiveness of public undergraduate education and/or help better deliver public services such as public safety, health or transportation. The student teams are competing for a total of $10,000 in prize money made possible by a private foundation. Participants also will be able to apply for Summer 2015 internships, are eligible to apply to CUNY’s student entrepreneurial incubator program and participate in the CUNY Entrepreneurship Boot Camp, and have access to the CUNY Entrepreneurship Network in real and virtual space. The goal is to encourage CUNY student entrepreneurs to develop the next generation of jobs and businesses for New York City.

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Running a charitable foundation in a time of diminished resources is a constant challenge. At the Foundation Against Cancer, our mission includes both funding medical research in search of new cures and supporting those persons currently challenged by the disease. Over the years, the need for both types of assistance we offer has continued to grow. By the end of 2014, for instance, we expect to have offered €16 million in grants to Belgian scientists – an increase of 28 percent compared to what we provided in 2012. And we will have launched twice as many initiatives to provide health information and deliver assistance to patients and their families as compared to just a few years ago.

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We have been focused so intently on supporting the communities we serve that we haven’t had time to build the very information technology capacities and competencies that would enable us to be even more effective. That’s why we felt so fortunate for the opportunity to engage with IBM to develop a roadmap for meeting our current and future IT challenges.

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Wim_DegraveTorsten_Thomas by Wim Degrave and Torsen Thomas

To kick-start its 10th anniversary celebrations, World Community Grid is partnering with the University of New South Wales in Australia and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz in Brazil) in their research to better understand DNA and proteins – uncovering the hidden superpowers of the natural world. In the article below, the principal investigators of the Uncovering Genome Mysteries project share their thoughts on the program’s tremendous potential and the essential role that World Community Grid will play.

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Our understanding of life on earth has grown enormously since the advent of genetic research. A decade ago, the Human Genome Project added humans to the list of a
dozen organisms whose genomes had been completely sequenced. Today’s rapid
DNA sequencing technologies have decoded the genomes of thousands of additional organisms, including many microorganisms that previously could not be studied via conventional methods.

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Why is the study of microorganisms so crucial? Microorganisms control a huge variety of natural processes involved in human health, food production, agriculture and aquaculture. They have been developed into antibiotics and other medicines, used to clean water in sewage treatment plants and deployed to mop up oil spills.

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