Talk with IBM Research Manager Costas Bekas

Friday, December 16, 2016, 11:00am

Title: Frontiers of Cognitive Computing

Abstract: Cognitive Computing is the new frontier of the information age. Computers have evolved into indispensable tools of our modern societies, having modernized numerous aspects of our everyday lives. Computers have facilitated the acquisition, storage and access of huge amounts of data since the very first electronic general purpose machines of the 1940s. Since then, we learned how to program computers in order to allow uses that even the wildest imagination of computer pioneers of the 50s and 60s did not capture, such as the internet, social networks and simulations of nature of incredible fidelity. Cognitive computing turns our trusted programmable machines, into cognitive companions. The systems are not programmed to simply achieve a task, but rather they are developed to reason with us in ways that are natural for us. They can debate with us, test our ideas, as these are expressed in natural language, against incredible volumes of data and give us insights that ultimately free us and let us focus on and use our deepest of human capabilities: intuition and intelligence. Cognitive systems mimic the way we humans reason, allowing us to express in unstructured ways, such as speech and vision in order to achieve in a small fraction of the previously required time feats such as pharmaceuticals and materials discovery, attacking cancer, understand complex natural ecosystems as well as man-made ecosystems such as the economy and technology. We will discuss the remarkable progress of cognitive computing and give a glimpse of what the future may look like.

Bio: Costas Bekas, Principal Research Staff Member, is managing the Foundations of Cognitive Solutions at IBM Research-Zurich. He received B. Eng., Msc and PhD diplomas, all from the Computer Engineering & Informatics Department, University of Patras, Greece, in 1998, 2001 and 2003 respectively. Between 2003-2005, he worked as a postdoctoral associate with prof. Yousef Saad at the Computer Science & Engineering Department, University of Minnesota, USA. He has been with IBM since September 2005. Costas's main research interests span HPC, massive scale analytics and cognitive computing, energy aware algorithms and architectures. Costas is a recipient of the PRACE 2012 award and the ACM Gordon Bell 2013 and 2015 prizes.

Location: School of Engineering II, Campus de Gualtar, University of Minho, Braga (Auditorium)