J. Georg Bednorz and IBM Fellow K. Alex Mueller of IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory receive the 1987 Nobel Prize for physics for their breakthrough discovery of high-temperature superconductivity in a new class of materials. This is the second consecutive year the Nobel Prize for physics has been presented to IBM researchers.
IBM researchers demonstrate the feasibility for blind computer users to read information directly from computer screens with the aid of an experimental mouse. And in 1988 the IBM Personal System/2 Screen Reader is announced, permitting blind or visually impaired people to hear the text as it is displayed on the screen in the same way a sighted person would see it. This is the first in the IBM Independence Series of products for computer users with special needs.
IBM Chairman John F. Akers adds a new goal - "to enhance our customer relationships" - to the goals established in the early 1980s. The five goals now are: to enhance customer relationships; to be the leader in products and services - excelling in quality and innovation; to grow with the industry; to be the most efficient; and to sustain profitability, which funds growth.
IBM Instruments, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary that markets analytical instruments in the United States, ends operations.
The IBM 3090 Model 600E is introduced in January as the new top-of-the-line processor. It features six processing units, and can deliver up to 60 percent more computing power than the company's largest previous model. The American Federation of Information Processing Societies names the IBM 9370 Information System the "Hardware Product of the Year."
A powerful new generation of personal computing products - the IBM Personal System/2 (PS/2) - is introduced. By November, IBM has shipped one million IBM Personal System/2s, in just over six months after its introduction. By comparison, it took 28 months to ship one million of the original IBM Personal Computer product line.
During 1987 IBM introduces Systems Application Architecture, which is designed to make application programs look and work in the same manner across the entire range of the company's personal computing systems, midrange processors and System/370 processors.
In support of the new family of PC systems, IBM introduces a new operating system - IBM Operating System/2 (OS/2) - which gives users of IBM PC systems access to multiple applications, very large programs and data, while concurrently communicating with other systems. OS/2 is the first offering in IBM's Systems Application Architecture.
Among the other products introduced in 1987 are: a new expert systems development package called KnowledgeTool; the IBM 4732 Personal Banking Machine, which replaces IBM's previous generation automated teller machine; and the IBM 3892 document processor.
AMADEUS - a consortium of Air France, Lufthansa, Iberia and SAS - awards IBM a contract to provide more than $100 million in equipment and systems software for a global Travel Information and Distribution system. IBM is selected to develop an advanced banking system for the Westpac Banking Corporation, based in Sydney, by consolidating Westpac's existing independent computer systems into one integrated system.
Frances E. Allen, John A. Armstrong, Richard C. Chu, James Economy and Janusz S. Wilczynski are elected members of the National Academy of Engineering.
IBM researchers produce experimental magnetic disks with tracks that are 20 millionths of an inch (half a micron) wide. At such dimensions, future 3.5-inch disks used in computer storage could each hold 10 billion bits of information (10 gigabits), or 620,000 double-spaced typewritten pages - 50 times more than 1987's densest disks.
IBM researchers extend the boundaries of silicon-based computer chip technology by developing a powerful experimental transistor. The device, with features one thousand times thinner than a human hair, sends the strongest and clearest electronic signals ever measured in silicon transistors of such size.
As personal computers become vulnerable to attack from viruses, a small research group at IBM develops, practically overnight, a suite of antivirus tools. The effort leads to the establishment of the High Integrity Computing Laboratory (HICL) at IBM. HICL goes on to pioneer the science of theoretical and observational computer virus epidemiology.
Other IBM researchers announce they have fabricated the first thin-film superconducting devices to operate at temperatures high enough to be of a practical use, and demonstrate new ceramic superconducting materials which carry 100 times more electrical current than previously observed.
The National Science Foundation announces that IBM will take part in a five-year cooperative project to enhance the U.S. national supercomputing network. IBM, MCI and Merit, Inc., will work together to upgrade the performance and capacity of current research networks connecting the country's scientific research centers. IBM and Supercomputer Systems, Inc., state their intention to form a partnership for the development of advanced computing systems.
IBM Japan, Ltd. and Nissan Motors Co., Ltd. establish Nissan Systems Development, a jointly-owned company to provide systems engineering services.
IBM receives from the U.S. National Alliance of Business special recognition for its nearly 20 years of job training efforts for the economically disadvantaged. More than 19,500 people in the U.S. have received training in information processing and office skills at IBM-sponsored job training centers since 1968.
In Europe IBM announces a $40 million program over two years to encourage advanced education in supercomputing. The program will also establish more than five special centers of supercomputing competence within European universities and research institutions.
Of the nearly 8,000 new employees hired in the United States in 1987, 40 percent are women and 21 percent are minorities. About 17 percent of the total U.S. employee population are minorities and 29 percent are women. Women hold more than 18 percent of the company's management positions, while minorities hold approximately 12 percent. Of these, more than 600 women and 500 minorities are in senior management positions.