IBM Research is the research and development division for IBM, an American multinational information technology company headquartered in Armonk, New York, with operations in over 170 countries. IBM Research is the largest industrial research organization in the world and has twelve labs on six continents.
IBM employees have garnered six Nobel Prizes, six Turing Awards, 20 inductees into the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame, 19 National Medals of Technology, five National Medals of Science and three Kavli Prizes. As of 2018, the company has generated more patents than any other business in each of 25 consecutive years, which is a record.
The roots of today's IBM Research began with the 1945 opening of the Watson Scientific Computing Laboratory at Columbia University. This was the first IBM laboratory devoted to pure science and later expanded into additional IBM Research locations in Westchester County, New York, starting in the 1950s, including the Thomas J. Watson Research Center in 1961.
Notable company inventions include the floppy disk, the hard disk drive, the magnetic stripe card, the relational database, the Universal Product Code (UPC), the financial swap, the Fortran programming language, SABRE airline reservation system, DRAM, copper wiring in semiconductors, the smartphone, the portable computer, the Automated Teller Machine (ATM), the silicon-on-insulator (SOI) semiconductor manufacturing process, Watson artificial intelligence and the Quantum Experience.
Advances in nanotechnology include IBM in atoms, where a scanning tunneling microscope was used to arrange 35 individual xenon atoms on a substrate of chilled crystal of nickel to spell out the three letter company acronym. It was the first time atoms had been precisely positioned on a flat surface.
Major undertakings at IBM Research have included the invention of innovative materials and structures, high-performance microprocessors and computers, analytical methods and tools, algorithms, software architectures, methods for managing, searching and deriving meaning from data and in turning IBM's advanced services methodologies into reusable assets.
IBM Research's numerous contributions to physical and computer sciences include the Scanning Tunneling Microscope and high temperature superconductivity, both of which were awarded the Nobel Prize. IBM Research was behind the inventions of the SABRE travel reservation system, the technology of laser eye surgery, magnetic storage, the relational database, UPC barcodes and Watson, the question-answering computing system that won a match against human champions on the Jeopardy! television quiz show. The Watson technology is now being commercialized as part of a project with healthcare company Anthem Inc.. Other notable developments include the Data Encryption Standard (DES), Fast Fourier Transform (FFT), Benoît B. Mandelbrot's introduction of Fractals, magnetic disk storage (hard disks, the MELD-Plus risk score, the one-transistor dynamic random-access memory (DRAM), the Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC) architecture, relational databases, and Deep Blue (grandmaster-level chess-playing computer).
Notable IBM researchers
There are a number of computer scientists "who made IBM Research famous." These include Frances E. Allen, Marc Auslander, John Backus, Charles H. Bennett (computer scientist), Erich Bloch, Grady Booch,    Fred Brooks (known for his book The Mythical Man-Month), Peter Brown, Larry Carter, Gregory Chaitin, John Cocke, Alan Cobham, Edgar F. Codd, Don Coppersmith, Ronald Fagin, Horst Feistel, Jeanne Ferrante, Zvi Galil, Ralph E. Gomory, Jim Gray, Joseph Halpern, Kenneth E. Iverson, Frederick Jelinek, Reynold B. Johnson, Benoit Mandelbrot, Robert Mercer (businessman), C. Mohan, Michael O. Rabin, Arthur Samuel, Barbara Simons, Alfred Spector, Moshe Vardi, John Vlissides, Mark N. Wegman and Shmuel Winograd.
IBM currently has 19 research facilities spread across 12 laboratories on six continents:
- Africa (Nairobi, Kenya, and Johannesburg)
- Almaden (San Jose)
- Australia (Melbourne)
- Brazil (Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro)
- Cambridge (Cambridge)
- China (Beijing)
- Haifa (Haifa)
- Ireland (Dublin)
- India (Delhi and Bengaluru)
- Tokyo (Tokyo and Shin-kawasaki)
- Zurich (Zurich)
- IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center (Yorktown Heights and Albany)
Historic research centers for IBM also include IBM La Gaude (Nice), the Cambridge Scientific Center, the IBM New York Scientific Center, 330 North Wabash (Chicago), IBM Austin Research Laboratory, and IBM Laboratory Vienna.
IBM Research – Australia is a research and development laboratory established by IBM Research in 2009 in Melbourne. It is involved in social media, interactive content, healthcare analytics and services research, multimedia analytics, and genomics. The lab is headed by Vice President and Lab Director Joanna Batstone. It was to be the company’s first laboratory combining research and development in a single organisation.
IBM Research – Brazil is one of twelve research laboratories comprising IBM Research, its first in South America. It was established in June 2010, with locations in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Research focuses on Industrial Technology and Science, Systems of Engagement and Insight, Social Data Analytics and Natural Resources Solutions.
The new lab, IBM's ninth at the time of opening and first in 12 years, underscores the growing importance of emerging markets and the globalization of innovation. In collaboration with Brazil's government, it will help IBM to develop technology systems around natural resource development and large-scale events such as the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Engineer and associate lab director Ulisses Mello explains that IBM has four priority areas in Brazil: "The main area is related to natural resources management, involving oil and gas, mining and agricultural sectors. The second is the social data analytics segment that comprises the analysis of data generated from social networking sites [such as Twitter or Facebook], which can be applied, for example, to financial analysis. The third strategic area is nanotechnology applied to the development of the smarter devices for the intermittent production industry. This technology can be applied to, for example, blood testing or recovering oil from existing fields. And the last one is smarter cities."
IBM Research – Tokyo
The IBM Research – Tokyo, which was called IBM Tokyo Research Laboratory (TRL) before January 2009, is one of IBM's twelve major worldwide research laboratories. It is a branch of IBM Research, and about 200 researchers work for TRL. Established in 1982 as the Japan Science Institute (JSI) in Tokyo, it was renamed to IBM Tokyo Research Laboratory in 1986, and moved to Yamato in 1992 and back to Tokyo in 2012.
IBM Tokyo Research Laboratory was established in 1982 as the Japan Science Institute (JSI) in Sanbanchō, Tokyo. It was IBM's first research laboratory in Asia. Hisashi Kobayashi was appointed the founding director of TRL in 1982; he served as director until 1986. JSI was renamed to the IBM Tokyo Research Laboratory in 1986. In 1988, English-to-Japanese machine translation system called "System for Human-Assisted Language Translation" (SHALT) was developed at TRL. It was used to translate IBM manuals.
TRL was shifted from downtown Tokyo to the suburbs to share a building with IBM Yamato Facility in Yamato, Kanagawa Prefecture in 1992. In 1993, world record was accomplished for generation of continuous coherent Ultraviolet rays. In 1996, Java JIT compiler was developed at TRL, and it was released for major IBM platforms. Numerous other technological breakthroughs were made at TRL.
The team led by Chieko Asakawa (ja:浅川智恵子), IBM Fellow since 2009, provided basic technology for IBM's software programs for the visually handicapped, IBM Home Page Reader in 1997 and IBM aiBrowser (ja:aiBrowser) in 2007. TRL moved back to Tokyo in 2012, this time at IBM Toyosu Facility.
TRL researchers are responsible for numerous breakthroughs in sciences and engineering. The researchers have presented multiple papers at international conferences, and published numerous papers in international journals. They have also contributed to the products and services of IBM, and patent filings. TRL conducts research in microdevices, system software, security and privacy, analytics and optimization, human computer interaction, embedded systems, and services sciences.
TRL collaborates with the Japanese universities, and support their research programs. IBM donates its equipment such as servers, storage systems, and so forth to the Japanese universities to support their research programs under the Shared University Research (SUR) program.
In 1987, IBM Japan Science Prize was created to recognize researchers, who are not over 45 years old, working at Japanese universities or public research institutes. It is awarded in physics, chemistry, computer science, and electronics.
In 1956, IBM opened their first European research laboratory in Adliswil, Switzerland, near Zurich. The lab moved to its own campus in neighboring Rüschlikon in 1962. The Zurich lab is staffed by a multicultural and interdisciplinary team of a few hundred permanent research staff members, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, representing about 45 nationalities. Collocated with the lab is a Client Center (formerly the Industry Solutions Lab), an executive briefing facility demonstrating technology prototypes and solutions.
The Zurich lab is world-renowned for its scientific achievements—most notably Nobel Prizes in physics in 1986 and 1987 for the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope and the discovery of high-temperature superconductivity, respectively. Other key inventions include trellis modulation, which revolutionized data transmission over telephone lines; Token Ring, which became a standard for local area networks and a highly successful IBM product; the Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) standard used for highly secure payments; and the Java Card OpenPlatform (JCOP), a smart card operating system. Most recently the lab was involved in the development of SuperMUC, a supercomputer that is cooled using hot water.
The Zurich lab focus areas are future chip technologies; nanotechnology; fibre optics; supercomputing; data storage; security and privacy; risk and compliance; business optimization and transformation; server systems. The Zurich laboratory is involved in many joint projects with universities throughout Europe, in research programs established by the European Union and the Swiss government, and in cooperation agreements with research institutes of industrial partners. One of the lab's most high-profile projects is called DOME, which is based on developing an IT roadmap for the Square Kilometer Array.
The research projects pursued at the IBM Zurich lab are organized into three scientific and technical departments: Science & Technology, Cloud and Computing Infrastructure and Cognitive Computing and Industry Solutions. The lab is currently managed by Alessandro Curioni.
On 17 May 2011, IBM and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich opened the Binnig and Rohrer Nanotechnology Center, which is located on the same campus in Rüschlikon.
- "Labs and locations". IBM Research. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
- "Awards & Achievements". IBM. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- "IBM Breaks Records to Top U.S. Patent List for 25th Consecutive Year". IBM (Press release). 9 January 2018. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
- "IBM Watson Laboratory at Columbia University". Columbia.edu. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
- Beatty, Jack, (editor) Colussus: how the corporation changed America, New York : Random House, 2001. ISBN 978-0-7679-0352-3. Cf. chapter "Making the 'R' Yield 'D': The IBM Labs" by Robert Buderi.
- IBM, "Watson Research Center: Watson Facility History"
- "History of progress". IBM Research. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
- Browne, Malcolm W. (April 5, 1990). "2 Researchers Spell 'I.B.M.,' Atom by Atom". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2009-08-03.
- "Computer scientists who made IBM Research famous", IBM, 17 December 2012, retrieved 16 January 2016
- "IBM Archives: IBM Women in technology IBM Women in WITI Hall of Fame profile for Frances Allen". www.ibm.com. January 23, 2003.
- "IBM Archives: John Backus". www.ibm.com. January 23, 2003.
- "John Backus Archive Home Page". ccrma.stanford.edu.
- "John Backus". www.nndb.com.
- "John Backus". www.columbia.edu.
- Lohr, Steve (March 20, 2007). "John W. Backus, 82, Fortran Developer, Dies" – via NYTimes.com.
- "John Backus Memorial" (PDF).
- "IBM Archives: Erich Bloch". www.ibm.com. January 23, 2003.
- "Grady Booch - IBM". researcher.watson.ibm.com. July 25, 2016.
- "IBM Community - IBM Community Home". community.ibm.com. Archived from the original on December 13, 2015.
- "Handbook of software architecture". Archived from the original on 2012-01-07. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
- "IEEE Software: On Architecture". Archived from the original on 2018-08-03. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
- "The Promise, The Limits, The Beauty of Software". Archived from the original on March 28, 2011.
- Kelly, Kevin (July 28, 2010). "Master Planner: Fred Brooks Shows How to Design Anything". Wired. 18 (8) – via www.wired.com.
- "Fred Brooks". www.nndb.com.
- Innovator: Fred Brooks
- Fitzgerald, Michael (June 7, 2010). "The Grill: Fred Brooks". Computerworld.
- Comstock, Courtney. "Renaissance Tech, Meet The Two Crazy New Bosses Who Might Close Two Of Your Funds". Business Insider.
- "Larry Carter's Home Page". cseweb.ucsd.edu.
- "SIAM short course" (PDF).
- Shallit, Jeffrey (March 31, 2010). "Recursivity: Alan Cobham".
- "Our labs". IBM. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
- IBM Corporation. "Some key dates in IBM's operations in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA)" (PDF). IBM History. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
- "Labs and Locations". IBM Research. June 5, 2018.
- IBM Research. "IBM Research - Australia - Locations". Research.ibm.com. Retrieved 2020-02-09.
- "IBM CHOOSES AUSTRALIA FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT LABORATORY". austrade.gov. Archived from the original on 5 February 2015. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
- "Photos: IBM launches Melbourne R&D lab". iTnews.
- IBM Research. "IBM Research - Brazil - Locations". Research.ibm.com. Retrieved 2020-02-09.
- Becker, Spencer E. Ante And Nathan (June 9, 2010). "IBM To Open Research Lab In Brazil". Wall Street Journal – via www.wsj.com.
- Rosa, Silvia (June 10, 2014). "IBM's Brazil Research Labs Target Natural Resources, Data Analytics and Nanotechnology".
- Persaud, Ajax; Uma Kumar (2002). Managing synergistic innovations through corporate global R&D, Volume 173. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 82–83. ISBN 1-56720-463-5.
- "IBM Tokyo Research Laboratory". IBM. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
- Douligeris, Christos; Dimitrios N. Serpanos (2007). Network security: current status and future directions. John Wiley and Sons. p. 566. ISBN 978-0-471-70355-6.
- "TRL 25th Anniversary (1982-2006)". IBM. Archived from the original on 4 May 2007. Retrieved 16 August 2009.
- Boutellier, Roman; Oliver Gassmann; Maximilian von Zedtwitz (2008). Managing global innovation: uncovering the secrets of future competitiveness. Springer. p. 203. ISBN 978-3-540-25441-6.
- "Core Research Competency". IBM. Retrieved 16 August 2009.
- "Technical Paper". IBM. Retrieved 21 August 2009.
- "Research Results". IBM. Retrieved 16 August 2009.
- "Collaboration with Academia". IBM. Retrieved 17 August 2009.
- Nobel Prize in Physics 1986
- Nobel Prize in Physics 1987
- "IBM and ETH Zurich open collaborative Nanotechnology Center". Press Release. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
- Brennan, Jean Ford (1971). The IBM Watson Laboratory at Columbia University: A History. IBM.
- IBM Research Official Website
- Research History Highlights (Top Innovations)
- Research history by year
- Oral history interview with Martin Schwarzschild head of Watson Scientific Computation Laboratory at Columbia University, Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota
- IBM Research's technical journals