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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

June - 2007 - issue > Cover Feature

Clients, society, world: The 3 dimensions of research

Aritra Bhattacharya
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Aritra Bhattacharya
Suddenly, you can plunge into the Pacific and toast your eyes on coral reefs and exotic underwater creatures. Just like that. And then suddenly, as your boss hollers for you over the serenity underwater, you could snap out of it to address earthly chores. Seems possible?

Not quite, or maybe in a siesta you would say, till you would get to know about the 3-D internet that scientists at the IBM Research Labs in India are trying to build. Some years down the line, and no, don’t look for a time-frame on that since scientists don’t work on deadlines, their findings could help you literally ‘walk through’ your favorite bookstore online, or make a character actually pounce on the person you’re chatting with.

If you think these scientists look like bespectacled geeks, with white lab robes and calculations on the back of their hands, wait till you see them as part of the sales team that comes to your office to give a demo of IBM’s On Demand Business. Before you are able tell them from the others, they may have gleaned snippets of interesting information from your systems and the way they respond to On Demand Business to produce another tweak in On Demand Innovation.

As Dr. Daniel M. Dias, Director, IBM India Research Laboratory (IRL) will tell you, part of the research strategy at IRL is to pull its scientists out of their research labs and send them on client calls. Dias argues that contact with customers energizes their gray cells, inspiring them to come up with ideas they would probably never have thought of sitting back in their labs. Take the case of the On Demand Innovation Services team’s visit to HDFC bank. The experience, says Dias spurred a scientist to come up with a paper that was adjudged as ‘best paper’ at one of the international conferences.

The project at HDFC was in the area of Information Extraction (IE) from unstructured data. Broadly it focuses on identification of entities and relationships among entities (for example, it could help you find important emails, based on “customer of / employee of” parameters from the ‘unstructured’ e-mail inbox) and is a building block for business intelligence (BI).


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