April 2014 Spencer C. Schantz Distinguished Lecture Series

Brenda Dietrich
Brenda Dietrich
IBM Fellow and VP, IBM Watson Group

Date and Time: 

Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 3:30pm

Event Location: 

Lewis Laboratory, Room 270
Mohler Laboratory, Room 451

Public Lecture - "Cognitive Computing: Behind and Beyond Jeopardy!"

In 2011 a computer named Watson demonstrated super human question answering ability by defeating two Jeopardy! grand champions marking the beginning of a new era of computing. Rather than being programmed to execute specific tasks, cognitive computing systems learn and interact naturally with people to extend what neither humans or machines could do on their own. This talk will discuss both the creation of the first Watson computer and the near term opportunities for cognitive computing.

Technical Talk - "Business Analytics: Making Operations Research Ubiquitous"

Big Data and Analytics have captured the attention of the business world, with each term being assigned various definitions and attributes. This talk will address the domain from an Operations Research perspective. The motivation and objectives of business users of analytics will be explored. Trends in data availability will be discussed, along with some examples of nascent business models arising in a data economy. The role of algorithms and computing in distilling patterns, trends and recommendations from the data will be discussed, along with the growing role for OR experts in the business of extracting value from data.

Bio Sketch: 

Brenda Dietrich is an IBM Fellow and Vice President. She joined IBM in 1984 and has worked in the area now called analytics for her entire career. Her early work involved applying mathematical models to improve the performance of IBM manufacturing lines.

During her career, she has worked with almost every IBM business unit and applied analytics to numerous IBM decision processes. For over a decade she led the Mathematical Sciences function in the IBM Research division where she was responsible for both basic research on computational mathematics and for the development of novel applications of mathematics for both IBM and its clients.

In addition to her work within IBM, she has been the president of INFORMS, (Operations Research and Management Sciences), is an INFORMS Fellow, and has received multiple service awards. She has served on the Board of Trustees of SIAM and on several university advisory boards. She holds more than a dozen patents, has co-authored numerous publications, and frequently speaks on analytics. She holds a BS in Mathematics from University of North Carolina, and an MS and Ph.D. in OR/IE from Cornell University. Her personal research includes manufacturing scheduling, services resource management, transportation logistics, integer programming, and combinatorial duality. She currently leads the emerging technologies team in the IBM Watson group.