IBM Research Day @ CMU

  • Gates Hillman Centers
  • Reddy Conference Room 4405 / ASA Conference Room 6115
  • Michael: DSRM, Head, AI Science
  • James: Distinguished Engineer
  • IBM Research
Career Presentation


11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Technical Talk
with MICHAEL WITBROCK, DSRM, Head, AI Foundations Lab
AI Science at IBM Research: Resurgence, Big Bets, Early Results, and Opportunities for Collaboration
Location: Reddy Conference Room - Gates Hillman 4405

Over the past year, IBM Research has significantly scaled up its commitment to research in the science and technology of AI. In AI Science, we're committed to doing the fundamental research that will drive AI technology and AI for business for the next five to 10 years and beyond. To do this, we're pursuing many smaller focussed research projects, many in collaboration with University researchers, but we're also making some big bets. In this talk, I'll outline some of those big bets on AI research aimed at foundational impact; I'll focus particularly on our push towards general AI called Deep Thinking, and discuss some of very early results.  We're hoping researchers at CMU, and students and postdocs who might join us in IBM Research, will collaborate in solving some of the biggest problems in AI.

Michael Witbrock leads Reasoning research within IBM Research AI’s Science organisation, focused on integrating machine learning and explicit and symbolic reasoning techniques. Michael has a PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University and a BSc Hons in Psychology from Otago University in New Zealand. In the early 1900s, he was an intern at IBM working on parallel processing and neural networks, and was inspired by watching the Deep Blue team point at the future of AI. In 2016, still inspired by IBM’s potential to lead AI, he rejoined IBM after an extended period as Vice President for Research at Cycorp, where he directed research projects in automated reasoning (including speed-up learning), automated and interactive knowledge acquisition, and machine reading, in domains as varied as military operations planning, counter terrorism, NL medical records query, code analysis and vulnerability detection, video analysis and retrieval, and the molecular mechanisms underlying cancer. Before joining Cycorp, in 2001, to direct its knowledge formation and dialogue processing efforts, he had been Principal Scientist at Terra Lycos, working on integrating statistical and knowledge based approaches to understanding web user behaviour, and IP capture, a research scientist at JustSystems Pittsburgh Research Center, working on statistical summarization, and a systems scientist at Carnegie Mellon on the Informedia visual and spoken document information retrieval project. While maintaining a strong interest in knowledge capture and natural language understanding, his current research goals involve the development and use of quasi-logical systems, which retain approximations of the formal properties of logic while adding the learnability and flexibility of distributed representations, and the development and application of large, inferentially productive knowledge bases and inference systems across the resulting range of reasoning paradigms. He hopes to apply these representations and reasoners to the construction of "dense models" of domains, which are sufficiently complete to support the full range of indomain reasoning that humans are capable of. He is author of numerous publications in areas ranging across computational linguistics, speech modelling and recognition, neural networks, automated inference, automated reading and multimedia information retrieval, and has dabbled in web browser design and implementation, genetic design and parallel computer architecture. As well as his technical work, Dr. Witbrock is very interested in entrepreneurship around AI and for social good, and in the social and economic outcomes of advances in AI. He has pursued the former interest until recently as a member of the board of StartOut, and the latter interest, inter alia, as a co-founder of

12:15 pm - 1:45 pm
Lunch: with CMU Students who have interned at IBM (Research and Non-Research)
Location: Reddy Conference Room - Gates Hillman 4405
Note: Past interns, please RSVP for the luncheon separately.

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Technical Talk
with JAMES BOTTOMLEY, Distinguished Engineer
Exploring New Frontiers in Container Technology
Location: ASA Conference Room - Gates Hillman 6115

Containers (or Operating System based Virtualization) are an old technology; however, the current excitement (and consequent investment) around containers provides interesting avenues for research on updating the way we build and manage container technology. The most active area of research today, thanks to concerns raised by groups supporting other types of virtualization, is in improving the security properties of containers.

The first step in improving security is actually being able to measure it in the first place, so the initial goal of a research programmer for container security involves finding that measure. In this talk I'll outline one such measure (attack profiles) developed by IBM research, the useful results that can be derived from it, the problems it has and the avenues that can be explored to refine future measurements of containment.

Contrary to popular belief, a "container" doesn't describe one fixed thing, but instead is a collective noun for a group of isolation and resource control primitives (in Linux terminology called namespaces and cgroups) the composition of which can be independently varied. In the second half of this talk, we'll explore how containment can be improved by replacing some of the isolation primitives with local system call emulation sandboxes, a promising technique used by both the Google gVisor and the IBM Nabla secure container systems. We'll also explore the question of whether sandboxes are the end point of container security research or merely point the way to the next Frontier for container abstraction.

James Bottomley is a Distinguished Engineer at IBM Research where he works on Cloud and Container technology. He is also Linux Kernel maintainer of the SCSI subsystem. He has been a Director on the Board of the Linux Foundation and Chair of its Technical Advisory Board. He went to university at Cambridge for both his undergraduate and doctoral degrees after which he joined AT&T Bell labs to work on Distributed Lock Manager technology for clustering. In 2000 he helped found SteelEye Technology, a High availability company for Linux and Windows, becoming Vice President and CTO. He joined Novell in 2008 as a Distinguished Engineer at Novell's SUSE Labs, Parallels (later Odin) in 2011 as CTO of Server Virtualization and IBM Research in 2016.

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Reception for Ph.D. Students and Faculty
Location: Collaborative Commons, 6th Floor Gates Hillman

IBM Research has numerous openings for full-time and post-doctoral research positions available in many locations worldwide. We are looking for candidates in the following fields: EE, CS, CE, CSE, HCC, ECE, Mathematics, Statistics, Physics, Chemistry, Material Science and related fields.

Please REGISTER if you anticipate joining in for the technical talks or Ph.D/Faculty Reception.

Areas of Interest:
• Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
• Quantum Computing
• Blockchain
• Cyber Security & Privacy
• Cloud Computing

IBM Research job REQs:
REQ177568BR- Research Staff Member
REQ177570BR- Postdoc
REQ177571BR- Software Engineer
REQ177564BR- Summer intern Undergrad
REQ177565BR- Summer intern Graduate
REQ177567BR- Hardware Engineer

Please post your CV in handshake & Engenius or by September 28.

For More Information, Please Contact: