IBM Think Digital 2020: Focus on accelerating recovery and transformation

IBM Watson AIOps automates how enterprises detect, diagnose, and respond to IT problems in real time. It is built on Red Hat OpenShift

Pradeep Chakraborty
New Update

IBM is organizing the Think Digital 2020 on May 5-6, 2020. A galaxy of speakers will deliberate on accelerating recovery and transformation.


Arvind Krishna, CEO, IBM, will lead from the front, along with Ms Ginni Rometty, Executive Chairman, IBM, and Jim Whitehurst, President, IBM.

Some notable speakers include Amal Clooney, Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers, Mayim Bialik, Writer, Actress, Neuroscientist, Jane McGonigal, Director of Game Research and Development, Institute for the Future, Caterina Fake, Investor, Yes VC, Aithan Shapira, Consortium for Advanced Adult Learning & Development at McKinsey & Co. and Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management.

Dario Gill


Speaking at a pre-event press conference, Dario Gil, Director, IBM Research, said IBM's response to Covid-19 has been to protect the safety of our employees and clients with data-driven, evidence-based practices. We are ensuring business continuity for IBM and our clients. We are enabling clients to emerge stronger by addressing their immediate needs, building resiliency, and adaptation. We are also aiding the societies with resources, expertise and technology.

All of the critical IBM systems have been unaffected. The quality of the core network systems is critical to IBM. All of this will accelerate business re-invention. There will be movement towards new models and ways of working.

Public health is everyone's business. This fight is personal for so many of us. The stories of all the people in the frontline inspire us everyday. We are no strangers to dealing with emergencies. We have observed 40 million+ people visit our Covid-19 site daily. We also created IBM chatbots for citizens. We believe in the power of leadership, community, and the power of resiliency. We have the Covid-19 HPC Consortium. As of May 1, it has gone to 420 Peta Flops. Within two weeks, many partners came abroad, including Google and Microsoft. We have also extended several AI programs for free.


Members of the Covid-19 HPC Consortium includes, from the industry: IBM, Amazon Web Services, AMD, BP, DE Shaw Research, Dell, Google Cloud, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Intel, Microsoft and NVIDIA. From the academia:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Illinois, University of Texas at Austin, University of California - San Diego, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, Indiana University,

University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Ohio Supercomputer Center.

From the Department of Energy National Laboratories: Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and Idaho National Laboratory. From the Federal Agencies: National Science Foundation, including XSEDE, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC), Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC),

San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute (IUPTI), Open Science Grid (OSG), and National Center for Atmospheric Research(NCAR), along with NASA.

We recognize the need to act quickly for Covid-19. We are also going to provide the Open P-Tech in multiple languages, such as Spanish, Portuguese, etc. It offers free digital learning on the tech skills of tomorrow! It is critical that we continue to provide new skills for learning.


Rob Thomas

Rob Thomas, Senior VP, Cloud and Data Platform, IBM, said that clients are faced with several challenges. An outage can cost a company anywhere around $250,000 per hour. Every innovation has to deal with lights on and driving innovation. AI is not going to replace managers, but managers using AI will definitely replace those who don't. We are focused on AI for business. Trust is one factor. Language is next. You have to understand all of the communications across a business. Next, comes automation.

IBM is now bringing AI to IT! The IBM Watson AIOps automates how the enterprises detect, diagnose, and respond to IT problems in real time. It is built on the Red Hat OpenShift to run across any cloud. We are now bringing this to CIOs!


It deals with situations such as how can you quickly address a problem in your tech infrastructure? The CIO needs powerful AI to run the organization. It works in collaboration with an ecosystem of partners, including Slack and Box. The underlying technologies have been developed in IBM Research. Clients turning to IBM Watson AI technologies include, the Lufthansa Group, PayPal, T-Mobile, and UPS, among others.

IBM is also celebrating the global women leaders shaping the future of AI. We are recognizing over 30 women across a variety of industries and geographies for pioneering the use of AI. This represents companies such as AT&T, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Siemens AG, etc.

Hillary Hunter


Hillery Hunter, IBM Fellow and Chief Technology Officer, IBM Cloud, noted that IBM and Red Hat are launching new edge computing solutions for the 5G era. You can autonomously manage and scale workloads across 10,000 edge devices simultaneously. You can orchestrate new virtual and container network functions so that telcos can quickly deliver new services. New services and partnerships help drive the edge adoption. Companies using IBM edge technologies include, Vodafone Business, Samsung, and Equinix, among others.

For telcos, we are offering new technology. It will help drive the network and its management. Telcos look to modernize their networks, and get the consistency of management. Eg., Vodafone-Idea has delivered its new network capability. The winners will be those who adopt an open, hybrid approach. Applications will be able to encrypt and decrypt larger parts of data. We are also seeing clients getting successful with 5G. People are refreshing what they can do at the edge.

Rob Thomas added that enterprises will retool their budgets. Enterprises will see what they want to do on the cloud. AI will come into play. Also, virtual agents and security, as people and companies move further to a distributed workforce. Hybrid cloud adoption has increased. IBM has broad language support for Watson, at about 25 languages plus. These will be great coverage for the world.


The IBM Watson Assistant helps you to quickly build and deploy virtual assistants across channels. IBM Watson should become the go-to help assistant in the future. You can model it to fit a suitable use case. Its all about the right data set.

Hunter said that clients are trying to accomplish new things at the end-to-end with edge. Dario Gil noted AI and ML will see investments increasing as are they at the top priority.