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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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Since the latest outbreak of Ebola in sub-Saharan Africa, thousands of people have died from the disease by official count, and the true death toll may be much higher. While Ebola is difficult to contract unless one is exposed to the bodily fluids of a person in the latter stages of the illness, poverty and lack of proper facilities and equipment throughout Africa have made the disease difficult to contain. Add to that the visceral aspects of the affliction, and you have a formula for panic and the spread of misinformation in addition to the real and serious dangers posed by the disease.

That’s why IBM has stepped up to combat the Ebola crisis where it lives – deploying our expertise in disaster relief & recovery, data analysis, mobile technology and cloud computing to help governments, health care workers and others on the ground get the tools and information they need to stop Ebola in its tracks.

  • The IBM Research Lab in Nairobi, Kenya – the continent’s first technology research lab – is collaborating with Sierra Leone’s Open Government Initiative, Cambridge University, Airtel and Kenya’s Echo Mobile on an SMS/toll-free communications channel to collect and share information, and track the disease.
  • IBMers around the world are taking a leading role in the creation of an Ebola Open Data Repository which will use IBM’s SoftLayer cloud technology to provide governments, aid agencies and researchers with free and open access to globally-contributed data related to Ebola.
  • After deploying best practices in the fight against Ebola, Nigeria has recently
    been declared free of the disease. An IBM donation of Connections technology to Nigeria’s Lagos State Government will support the country’s preparedness against future outbreaks.

Read more about IBM’s full portfolio of responses to the Ebola crisis at the links below.

Stanley S. Litow is IBM’s Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and President of the IBM International Foundation.

More Information About IBM’s Responses to the Ebola Crisis:

IBM Launches Humanitarian Initiatives to Help Contain Ebola Outbreak in Africa

IBM Research – Africa Uses Technology in Ebola Humanitarian Efforts

How Big Data Can Help Beat Ebola

World Health Organization: Ebola Virus Disease

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Mayors are using data and analytics as the basis of collaboration with nonprofits, local agencies and others to improve the quality of life for city residents. Addressing such essential issues as health care delivery and public safety in an era of diminishing resources requires a smarter approach to identifying and making use of actionable information.

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At this week’s IBM THINK Forum in New York City, leaders from around the world will gather to discuss the transformational convergence of government services and big data. Tune in to the IBM THINK Forum on October 8 and 9 to discover how big data is helping decision makers engage with the people they serve.

Read “Cities at Forefront of Using Technology and Data to Solve Problems

Myung J. Lee is Executive Director of Cities of Service, a coalition of nearly 200 cities whose mayors are committed to using volunteer service to solve local pressing challenges.

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October 1st, 2014
13:28
 

On Saturday, September 20th, I had the opportunity to meet a special group of new students at Richard J. Daley College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. These students came in on a Saturday to learn about the Daley College community and the resources available to support them on their educational journey.

The author addresses the Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy convocation in Chicago

The author addresses the Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy convocation in Chicago

What distinguishes this group 100+ students is the fact that they do not yet have a high school diploma. They are taking courses at Daley College while enrolled in Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy, one of five Early College STEM Schools created through partnerships among the Chicago Public Schools, City Colleges of Chicago, and five technology companies led by IBM – creator of the P-TECH grades 9 through 14 schools model. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel launched the Early College STEM High Schools in 2012 based on recommendations from an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge partnership with the City.

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(La versión española más adelante)

IBM’s breakthrough technologies in cloud, analytics, mobile computing, social computing and data security are transforming the way companies do business and governments serve their constituents. That’s why IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs was so excited to work with the government of Córdoba Province, Argentina to improve the teaching of English in more than 100 public schools across the province.

The author outlines the benefits of IBM's new technologies during Córdoba’s second annual IT Education Week

The author outlines the benefits of IBM’s new technologies during Córdoba’s second annual IT Education Week

I recently had the chance to discuss IBM’s new technologies with more than 100 educators and members of the general public during Córdoba’s second annual IT Education Week – the largest technology event in a city with global aspirations to become a hub for innovative technologies. IT Education Week is hosted by education and technology specialists with the goal of raising technology awareness among the general public and decision makers in the public and private sectors.

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September 18th, 2014
8:00
 

As IBM announces Watson Analytics – developed to make sophisticated data analysis more accessible to non-technical users – more than 40 IBM Watson employees are collaborating with students at The City University of New York (CUNY) to focus Watson’s cognitive computing powers on improving higher education and the delivery of city services. Today’s IBM Watson Employee Day of Service at CUNY will complement IBM Watson Case Competitions held at colleges and universities across the U.S. to increase awareness of the transformative power of cognitive computing.

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The Watson Case Competitions also will inspire students to advance their skills related to cognitive computing, and help them differentiate themselves in the marketplace as they prepare for 21st century careers. The case competitions are part of IBM’s global commitment to advancing the academic rigor and economic relevance of education, and providing graduates clear pathways to good jobs.

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It can be challenging for a small country like the Czech Republic to compete in the global economy. As a country of just 10 million inhabitants, it’s important for our educational system to prepare graduates for 21st century jobs. In the same way that many trends and measures of liberal capitalism have developed here since the fall of the communist regime 25 years ago, it is now time to evolve our educational system to keep pace with the times.

Students experiment with robotics during an IT summer program at IBM in the Czech Republic

Students experiment with robotics during an IT summer program at IBM in the Czech Republic

To help make this happen, IBM joined parent groups and nonprofit organizations to launch Czech Talks About Education in 2012. The program was part of a national campaign to redesign the country’s educational system, and IBM has been instrumental in attracting broader stakeholder engagement and driving the discussion of how to modernize our approaches to teaching and learning.

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I am a member of IBM’s Academic Initiative team, and recently volunteered to run a team-building activity at the Norwalk Early College Academy (NECA) Summer Academy in Connecticut. NECA is a partnership among the Norwalk Public Schools, Norwalk Community College and IBM, and will officially open this fall as Connecticut’s first P-TECH model school. As with all P-TECH schools, NECA will capitalize on a public-private partnership between an employer (IBM) and educators to provide an academically rigorous and economically relevant grades 9 through 14 education that will launch graduates into meaningful, middle-class careers. NECA graduates will receive both a high school diploma and a no-cost associate degree in technology, and will be first in line for consideration for jobs with IBM.

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The NECA Summer Academy was attended by local dignitaries and media, school faculty, IBM volunteers and 50 bright young students anxious to get a head start on the school year. My role was to introduce attendees to the type of workplace learning and skills-building exercises that are part of every P-TECH school curriculum. Our project – to build a bridge out of marshmallows and dried spaghetti – was designed to get students to think and act like engineers…as a team. The students in my group ended up doing a great job on two separate bridge concepts.

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Cloud computing. Data analytics. Mobile computing. Social business. Evolving individually, any one of these developments would be a disruption in the way individuals, societies and businesses relate to each other. Taken together, Cloud, Big Data, Mobile and Social are affecting nothing less than a global transformation of the way organizations operate. But IBM’s commitment to innovation and transformation goes beyond business strategy; it embraces our corporate culture. And in no way is that alignment more evident than in our approach to corporate responsibility.

2013_CR_ReportClick here to read the 2013 IBM Corporate Responsibility Report

In our 2013 Corporate Responsibility Report, IBM details the many ways in which we are integrating corporate citizenship with business strategy to help transform such essential challenges as improving education (where we are redefining the pathway from high school to college and career), community engagement (through which IBM’s technology and top talent are addressing the challenges of civil society and the not-for-profit community), and improving the quality of urban life by helping cities and regions get “smarter.” Through it all, IBM’s approach to corporate citizenship via creative public-private partnerships delivers sustainable value to our beneficiaries, enables our partners to address critical societal issues in innovative ways, and helps IBMers acquire and embrace new skills.

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IBM Supplier Connection helps America’s small businesses gain access to large company supply chain spending so they can grow and create new jobs. This free service offering small businesses “one-stop shopping” is powered by the IBM SmartCloud and streamlines the procurement process for both buyers and suppliers. More than 3,500 small companies already are connected to nearly 30 large-company buyers through Supplier Connection. In 2013 alone, participating corporations spent more than $1.5 billion with small businesses registered on Supplier Connection.

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Last week, IBM was pleased to meet with President Obama to discuss his SupplierPay initiative to speed payments to small businesses, and contribute our expertise on building healthier supply chains and strengthening relationships between small and large businesses. The President’s SupplierPay initiative recognizes the importance of small business to the nation’s economy. The initiative calls upon large enterprises to provide financing help to their small suppliers and to pay them faster so they can grow and create more jobs.

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