Live from IBM World of Watson: a CIO’s perspective of cognitive computing

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Rocket data virtualizationMy primary mission in attending this week’s IBM World of Watson was to get a better understanding of cognitive computing – what it is, how it can be used, how the it can be integrated with existing technologies and applications, what it takes to learn how to use it, what cognitive technologies and applications are available now, and what technologies we’ll be seeing in the future.

It’s easy to be excited about the ability for a machine to access virtually any electronic information and relate that information to any other information with a power that the human mind could never process –the ability to map the human genome and then apply the world’s collective knowledge against it holds out an amazing possibility to find the causes of disease and construct treatments to heal and prevent them, for example.

But it’s not just the collection, collation and relation of data that’s exciting to me.  It’s the machine’s ability to take that information, determine the best course of action, and then TAKE that action that presents the most intriguing thought.  As a CIO, I see how the need to track and manage increasingly complicated infrastructure increases every day, and it takes a lot of human cycles to interpret the data, determine what needs to be done, and then do (and often document, in the case of compliance) it – what if we could free up those human cycles to work with our labs to talk about what data they need, rather than spending time backing up the data that they don’t?  Wouldn’t it be great for our network to be able to watch its traffic, understand where there are slowdowns, see when/how/why they became problems, take corrective action to change routes and balance loads, and then create a report that told our network team about it, with suggestions about how future designs can avoid them, all BEFORE we ever notice the problem?

I’m here looking for ways that Rocket can apply this technology, not just to make our internal IT operations more efficient and effective, but also to find ways we can incorporate it into the products we make for our customers, who have all of the same challenges we do and who would welcome our help in putting this amazing capability into their own environments.

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Jay Leader joined Rocket in 2014 as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer. Most recently he was Vice President of IT and Chief Information Officer at Rapid7. Over his 29 year career Jay has served in a variety of IT and consulting positions including management roles in Network/Telecommunications, Business Systems, and Project Management at companies such as iRobot, Nypro Inc., Data General Corp., and Coopers & Lybrand. He is the former Chairman of the Boston Society for Information Management CIO Roundtable, and was named the 2010 Massachusetts CIO of the Year by the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council. He was also named one of Computerworld’s 2011 Premier 100 Leaders in IT. Jay is a graduate of Clark University, Worcester, MA, where he earned a BA in International Relations and an MBA.

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