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Icons of Progress
 
 

IBM’s 100 Icons of Progress

In the span of a century, IBM has evolved from a small business that made scales, time clocks and tabulating machines to a globally integrated enterprise with more than 400,000 employees and a strong vision for the future. The stories that have emerged throughout our history are complex tales of big risks, lessons learned and discoveries that have transformed the way we work and live. These 100 iconic moments—these Icons of Progress—demonstrate our faith in science, our pursuit of knowledge and our belief that together we can make the world work better.

  • Featured: September 20, 2011 IBM100 A Business and Its Beliefs  iconic mark

    A Business and Its Beliefs

    IBM100 A Business and Its Beliefs  iconic mark

    A Business and Its Beliefs

    Corporate cultures usually flow from the CEO downward, but from the start C-T-R, and later IBM, took a different path. It intentionally built a culture that flows up from its people, centered on a set of shared beliefs about the company’s place in the world and how to act in achieving that. This has been the key to IBM’s vitality for over a century. In 2003, IBM CEO Sam Palmisano again turned to IBMers to help form the company’s values via a “ValuesJam,” an online, three-day event. The results were strikingly familiar—in keeping with those set by Thomas Watson Sr. in 1914.

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  • Featured: September 16, 2011 IBM100 Sustainable Cocoa iconic mark

    Sustainable Cocoa

    IBM100 Sustainable Cocoa iconic mark

    Sustainable Cocoa

    Recently, IBM completed the initial genomic sequence of cocoa—in conjunction with chocolate maker Mars, Incorporated, and the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS)—in hopes of developing new strains of heartier, higher-yielding and blight-resistant cocoa, not to mention better-tasting chocolate. The project marks a significant scientific milestone that is already starting to benefit farmers, particularly in West Africa where about 70 percent of the world’s cocoa crop is produced. It’s one example of how IBM is leveraging emerging technologies to allow more directed breeding of sustainable food resources.

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  • Featured: September 14, 2011 IBM100 Preserving the Legacy of Film iconic mark

    Preserving the Legacy of Film

    IBM100 Preserving the Legacy of Film iconic mark

    Preserving the Legacy of Film

    Due to disintegrating film stock, the world’s film history is evaporating. IBM is working to save cinematic history through a collaboration with University of California Los Angeles and The Film Foundation, digitizing historical film content and building an electronic archive. IBM is also partly responsible for the digital video in use on the Internet today, having worked in the early 1990s to develop encoding and decoding standards that made digital video possible.

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  • Featured: September 13, 2011 IBM100 Deep Blue iconic mark

    Deep Blue

    IBM100 Deep Blue iconic mark

    Deep Blue

    In the mid 1980s, two PhD students at Carnegie Mellon University, Murray Campbell and Feng-hsiung Hsu, set out to build a chess machine that could beat the best human player. IBM Research hired the two scientists and gave them the resources to build Deep Blue, a dedicated chess-playing supercomputer. In 1997, in a historic match, Deep Blue became the first computer to defeat a reigning world chess champion. “In brisk and brutal fashion,” The New York Times reported, “the I.B.M. computer Deep Blue unseated humanity, at least temporarily, as the finest chess playing entity on the planet.” After a noted absence, Deep Blue led the way for IBM’s return to the supercomputing business.

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  • Featured: September 09, 2011 IBM100 The Cell Broadband Engine iconic mark

    The Cell Broadband Engine

    IBM100 The Cell Broadband Engine iconic mark

    The Cell Broadband Engine

    Gaming is serious business. In 2000, Sony Group and Toshiba Corporation issued a challenge to provide power-efficient and cost-effective high-performance processing for a wide range of applications, including the most demanding consumer appliance: game systems. The result came five years later with the release of the Cell Broadband Engine multi-core technology, developed jointly by IBM, Sony Group and Toshiba Corporation. Today, besides the Sony PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, the Cell Broadband Engine can be found in several Toshiba REGZA televisions, video production equipment from Sony, the IBM BladeCenter QS20, QS21 and QS22 servers, as well as IBM Roadrunner, one of the world’s most power-efficient supercomputers.

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  • Featured: September 08, 2011 IBM100 Exploring Undersea Frontiers iconic mark

    Exploring Undersea Frontiers

    IBM100 Exploring Undersea Frontiers iconic mark

    Exploring Undersea Frontiers

    In 1965, an IBM communications system was one of the only links connecting oceanauts in the world’s first ocean floor colony to a support team on the surface. The project, led by famous French sea explorer Jacques Cousteau, was a highlight of IBM’s involvement in undersea research, which included projects in underwater crime scene investigation and the microscopic analysis of compounds from 35,000 feet under the ocean surface.

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  • Featured: September 07, 2011 IBM100 The Preservation of Culture Through Technology iconic mark

    The Preservation of Culture Through Technology

    IBM100 The Preservation of Culture Through Technology iconic mark

    The Preservation of Culture Through Technology

    Through its computer technologies—starting with punched card data processing in the late 1940s through the creation of virtual worlds of today—IBM has helped bridge time and distance by preserving, recording and even re-creating ancient languages and cultures. IBM has undertaken cultural preservation projects with institutions in Russia, Spain, Indonesia, the United States, Italy, China and Egypt.

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  • Featured: September 02, 2011 IBM100 Racetrack Memory: The Future of Data Storage iconic mark

    Racetrack Memory

    IBM100 Racetrack Memory: The Future of Data Storage iconic mark

    Racetrack Memory

    The Future of Data Storage

    IBM researcher Stuart Parkin pioneered the development of racetrack memory, starting in about 2004. Parkin conceived of a device consisting of a city of skyscrapers—each one only hundreds of atoms wide—of magnetic material, with each floor of each skyscraper containing a single bit of data. The technique utilizes the spin of electrons to manipulate these bits, in effect shooting them around a racetrack, up and down the column. Though it may take a few years before it can be commercialized, once completed, it could allow for the kind of mass storage that now requires a disk drive to fit on a thumbnail-size chip that barely uses any energy. A handheld device could hold a few thousand movies, run for weeks at a time on a single battery and be practically unbreakable.

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  • Featured: August 30, 2011 IBM100 Popularizing Math and Science iconic mark

    Popularizing Math and Science

    IBM100 Popularizing Math and Science iconic mark

    Popularizing Math and Science

    In the mid-twentieth century, IBM worked with Charles and Ray Eames to make films and design exhibitions that brought widespread popular appeal to math and science concepts. These included Mathematica, the interactive museum exhibit, and the film “Powers of Ten”, both of which remain culturally and historically significant today. IBM continues to promote math and science through programs such as TryScience, a website offering fun-oriented science content, and Transition to Teaching, which supports employees in encore careers as math and science teachers.

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  • Featured: August 26, 2011 IBM100 Pioneering Speech Recognition iconic mark

    Pioneering Speech Recognition

    IBM100 Pioneering Speech Recognition iconic mark

    Pioneering Speech Recognition

    At the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962, IBM showcased the world’s most advanced speech recognition system, the “Shoebox.” It could understand 16 words, including the numbers zero through nine as well as minus, plus, subtotal, total, false and off. Visitors to the IBM pavilion could speak to the Shoebox via microphone, often looking on in amazement as it printed answers to simple arithmetic. After the Shoebox breakthrough, the development of speech recognition accelerated, aided by the exponential growth in computing power. The technology significantly increased computing access for people with vision, mobility and other impairments. Today, speech recognition is pervasive, and features a broad vocabulary and astonishing accuracy.

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  • Featured: August 23, 2011 IBM100 The Application of Spintronics iconic mark

    The Application of Spintronics

    IBM100 The Application of Spintronics iconic mark

    The Application of Spintronics

    IBM has been leading the research and application into an emerging technology called spintronics—short for “spin electronics”—which was coined in 1996 to describe devices that take advantage of “spin,” a quantum-mechanical property of an electron. The physics of spintronics allow for significantly increased data capacity and may enable the leap to quantum computing.

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  • Featured: August 19, 2011 IBM100 Nanotechnology iconic mark

    Nanotechnology

    IBM100 Nanotechnology iconic mark

    Nanotechnology

    Our everyday computing devices depend on breakthroughs in chip technology. As chips get smaller, they must also get smarter. IBM’s research in nanotechnology has led to innovations in not only chip technology, but healthcare as well, including sequencing the DNA strand at the nano level and developing a nanostructure that can fight the Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection.

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  • Featured: August 16, 2011 IBM100 The Professional Sales Force iconic mark

    The Professional Sales Force

    IBM100 The Professional Sales Force iconic mark

    The Professional Sales Force

    Thomas Watson Sr. believed a sales force could be a competitive advantage. Soon after taking charge of C-T-R in 1914, he established a dress code, no-drinking policy and the Hundred Percent Club to encourage employees to achieve 100 percent of their sales target. By the 1920s, he’d established a unique sales school in Endicott. Hiring only the best college graduates, IBM would put them through six weeks of intensive training. The IBM sales force became known worldwide for a new standard of professional service, and for cultivating client relationships founded on trust.

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  • Featured: August 12, 2011 IBM100 The Invention of Stream Computing iconic mark

    The Invention of Stream Computing

    IBM100 The Invention of Stream Computing iconic mark

    The Invention of Stream Computing

    In 2009, IBM announced the availability of its stream computing software, a breakthrough in real-time data analytics. Stream computing gathers multiple streams of data “on the fly,” using advanced algorithms to deliver nearly instantaneous analysis to decision makers. Flipping the traditional data analytics strategy in which data is collected in a database to be searched or queried for answers, stream computing can be used for complex, dynamic situations that require immediate decisions, such as predicting the spread of an epidemic or monitoring changes in the condition of premature babies.

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  • Featured: August 09, 2011 IBM100 Pioneering Genetic Privacy iconic mark

    Pioneering Genetic Privacy

    IBM100 Pioneering Genetic Privacy iconic mark

    Pioneering Genetic Privacy

    In October 2005, IBM became the first major corporation in the world to establish a genetics privacy policy that prohibits current or future employees’ genetic information from being used in employment decisions. “What I.B.M. is doing is significant because you have a big, leadership company that is saying to its workers, ‘We aren’t going to use genetic testing against you,’” said Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania medical school in an interview with The New York Times.

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  • Featured: August 05, 2011 IBM100  Power4: The First Multi-Core 1GHz Processor  iconic mark

    Power 4

    IBM100  Power4: The First Multi-Core 1GHz Processor  iconic mark

    Power 4

    The First Multi-Core, 1GHz Processor

    In 2001, IBM retooled the IBM RS/6000 and IBM AS/400 (IBM eServer pSeries and iSeries) systems by updating their core processors. The new processor was called POWER4, and it was the first multi-core, 1GHz processor in history. The high-performance, very-large-scale integration (VLSI) chip included two 64-bit PowerPC microprocessors, connected at high bandwidth to an on-chip memory subsystem with a shared L2-cache memory, and with high-speed busses and I/O to enable efficient 8-way systems. The result: POWER4 was able to operate at a clock frequency greater than 1GHz. IBM research and engineering teams in Yorktown, Poughkeepsie and Austin all contributed to the groundbreaking innovation.

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  • Featured: August 02, 2011 IBM100 The Mobilization of Relief Efforts iconic mark

    The Mobilization of Relief Efforts

    IBM100 The Mobilization of Relief Efforts iconic mark

    The Mobilization of Relief Efforts

    The tragic series of devastating tsunamis in December of 2004 killed more than 230,000 people and left 1.5 million people homeless. Within hours, country by country, IBM was assembling resources for relief, including a customized database to help track victims and goods; a wireless system running a disaster management network—in addition to material goods, counseling and training. It is just one example of how IBM assists in crisis management, reconstruction and aid distribution, applying its expertise and resources to ease suffering and rebuild lives.

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  • Featured: July 29, 2011 IBM100 Relational Database iconic mark

    Relational Database

    IBM100 Relational Database iconic mark

    Relational Database

    Until the mid-1970s, computers sorted information using rigid, one-off database programs. IBM researcher E. F. “Ted” Codd wanted to improve the way data was sorted and handled. He sought to create a generalized description of how to store, update and extract data with accuracy, and query responses so any changes to data produced consistent results. In 1970, Codd completed his definition of the relational database which became the foundation for IBM DB2 products.

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  • Featured: July 26, 2011 IBM100 Information Management System iconic mark

    Information Management System

    IBM100 Information Management System iconic mark

    Information Management System

    In the 1960s, US President John F. Kennedy challenged America’s technical industries to send an American man to the moon, launching the Mercury missions, which led to the Gemini and ultimately the Apollo program that landed a man on the moon. IBM designed an automated system to manage large bills of material for the project. That system, called Information Control System and Data Language/Interface (ICS/DL/I), was installed in April 1968. A few short months later, its first “READY” message was displayed on an IBM 2740 typewriter terminal at NASA. In 1969, the newly renamed IBM Information Management System/360 became available to the IT world. In the more than 40 years since, IBM IMS has been critical to the database management system revolution, continually evolving to meet the data processing requirements demanded by businesses and governments.

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  • Featured: July 22, 2011 IBM100 Copper Interconnects: The Evolution of Microprocessors iconic mark

    Copper Interconnects

    IBM100 Copper Interconnects: The Evolution of Microprocessors iconic mark

    Copper Interconnects

    The Evolution of Microprocessors

    In 1997, IBM researchers surged ahead of a crowded field when they announced that manufacturing chips with copper interconnects would make microprocessors faster, smaller and less expensive than using aluminum. Copper wires conducted electricity with about 40 percent less resistance than aluminum, which resulted in an additional 15 percent burst in microprocessor speed. It was another breakthrough that created a new inflection point in the industry and positioned IBM as the global leader.

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  • Featured: July 20, 2011 IBM100 RISC Architecture iconic mark

    RISC Architecture

    IBM100 RISC Architecture iconic mark

    RISC Architecture

    The first prototype computer employing RISC (reduced instruction set computer) architecture was developed at IBM in 1980. By allowing commands to access previously unused memory space, RISC enabled computers to work approximately twice as fast as other machines on the same number of circuits. RISC was an important innovation in system design because it eliminated wasted space in the information pipeline, and was widely viewed as the dominant computing architecture of the future. Its creator, John Cocke, received for his efforts the US National Medal of Science (1994) and the US National Medal of Technology (1991).

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  • Featured: July 19, 2011 IBM100 Innovating the Self-Service Kiosk iconic mark

    Innovating the Self-Service Kiosk

    IBM100 Innovating the Self-Service Kiosk iconic mark

    Innovating the Self-Service Kiosk

    IBM built upon magnetic stripe technology to continually expand its applications for self-service transactions, reaching a breakthrough in the IBM 2984, one of the earliest automated teller machines (ATMs). The self-service kiosk was activated by a magnetic-strip credit card and could be installed in the wall of a bank to dispense money day or night. Today, IBM is an industry leader in self-service kiosk innovation, enabling transactions in postal-service kiosks, airport check-in terminals, hotels, fitness centers, stores and other locations, as well as in banks.

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  • Featured: July 15, 2011 IBM100 The Invention of the Rewritable Magneto-Optical Disk iconic mark

    The Invention of the Rewritable Magneto-Optical Disk

    IBM100 The Invention of the Rewritable Magneto-Optical Disk iconic mark

    The Invention of the Rewritable Magneto-Optical Disk

    In the early 1970s, IBM scientists were investigating metallic films that displayed unique magnetic characteristics. Watson Research Center scientists Praveen Chaudhari, Jerome J. Cuomo and Richard J. Gambino were examining the magnetic structure and electronic properties of these films when they discovered the special magnetic materials that made rewritable-optical-disk data storage possible. For their work, they received the 1995 US National Medal of Technology—the nation’s highest award for technical innovation.

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  • Featured: July 13, 2011 IBM100 Information-Based Medicine iconic mark

    Information-Based Medicine

    IBM100 Information-Based Medicine iconic mark

    Information-Based Medicine

    In 2006, IBM helped create EuResist, a project that would help doctors prescribe more effective, tailored drug “cocktails” to HIV patients, using a database of more than 33,000 previous treatment cases. Through healthcare innovations such as EuResist, the World Community Grid and the Watson computer, IBM is leading the world in using data analysis and information technology to build smarter systems to more effectively fight illnesses such as AIDS, HIV and cancer.

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  • Featured: July 12, 2011 IBM100 The Punched Card Tabulator iconic mark

    The Punched Card Tabulator

    IBM100 The Punched Card Tabulator iconic mark

    The Punched Card Tabulator

    In the late 1880s, Herman Hollerith, a young technical whiz at the US Census Bureau, had an idea for a machine that could count and sort census results far faster than human clerks. The bureau funded Hollerith’s work, and the first tabulating machines helped count the 1890 census, saving the bureau several years’ work and more than US$5 million. Hollerith left the bureau to form the Tabulating Machine Company, selling his system to other countries’ census offices and then to businesses such as railroads and retailers. Hollerith had little competition, and his machines and punched cards became the standard for the industry. In 1911, financier Charles Flint bought the Tabulating Machine Company and merged it with the International Time Recording Company and the Computing Scale Company of America to form the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, or C-T-R, later renamed IBM.

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  • Featured: July 08, 2011 IBM100 Medicine On-Demand iconic mark

    Medicine On Demand

    IBM100 Medicine On-Demand iconic mark

    Medicine On Demand

    Malaria kills about 800,000 people each year, the vast majority of whom live in Sub-Saharan Africa. But stock-outs of malaria treatments in many Sub-Saharan African countries continue to be a problem. Launched in 2009, “SMS for Life” aims to reduce out-of-stock incidents for five key malaria medicines in the region. As Tanzanian health workers send weekly stock count text messages to a centralized database, district managers and the National Malaria Control Programme can use any Internet browser to access supply levels and provide regions with adequate medicine. Inexpensive IBM solutions like this increase inventory visibility throughout the supply chain and help detect signs of an epidemic—increasing public safety and reducing needless deaths.

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  • Featured: July 07, 2011 IBM100 Radiotype Wireless Data Transmission iconic mark

    Radiotype Wireless Data Transmission

    IBM100 Radiotype Wireless Data Transmission iconic mark

    Radiotype Wireless Data Transmission

    In 1935, Antarctic explorer Admiral Richard Byrd used an IBM Radiotype machine to transmit, by microwaves, the word “WATSON” from the South Pole to a lab in New Jersey—approximately 11,000 miles—signaling a new method in text transmission. When the US entered World War II, IBM lent Radiotype machinery to the Signal Corps, which sent a wartime peak of 50 million words each day among six stations at 100 words per minute. Though IBM did not pursue a market for Radiotype after the war, it showed a new generation what was possible in data communications, and helped drive the adoption of more advanced networking technologies.

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  • Featured: July 06, 2011 IBM100 TAKMI iconic mark

    TAKMI

    IBM100 TAKMI iconic mark

    TAKMI

    Bringing Order to Unstructured Data

    Before 1997, the process of analytics dealt only with structured information. Most of the world’s information, however, is chaotic, unstructured data and text. In response, IBM developed TAKMI, which provides businesses with detailed information, trend identification and otherwise-undetectable insights—helping inform problem-solving and context-based decision-making. Although TAKMI was created to analyze call center logs, IBM quickly realized its potential for broader applications. A medical version of the TAKMI system is analyzing medical publications, taking inventory, and mapping unstructured medical data to identify patterns and enable intelligent clinical decisions.

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  • Featured: July 01, 2011 IBM100 A Commitment to Employee Education iconic mark

    A Commitment to Employee Education

    IBM100 A Commitment to Employee Education iconic mark

    A Commitment to Employee Education

    Thomas Watson Sr. said “there is no saturation point in education” and in 1916, he created the IBM Education Program. Over the next two decades, the program expanded to include management education, study clubs and the construction of a schoolhouse and laboratory. Between 1938 and 1952, 40 percent of Endicott employees were enrolled in classes, covering 33 subjects. In 1961 alone, 17,000 employees participated in courses. Today, IBM continues to evolve its commitment to education by offering thousands of learning experiences across roles and geographies in a multitude of in-person and virtual formats.

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  • Featured: June 29, 2011 IBM100 The First Nationwide Smart Energy and Water Grid iconic mark

    The First Nationwide Smart Energy and Water Grid

    IBM100 The First Nationwide Smart Energy and Water Grid iconic mark

    The First Nationwide Smart Energy and Water Grid

    The island nation of Malta turned to IBM to help mitigate its two most pressing issues—water shortage and skyrocketing energy costs. The result is a combination smart water/grid system launched in 2009 that uses instrumented digital meters to monitor waste, incentivize efficient resource use, deter theft and reduce dependence on oil and processed seawater. Together, Malta and IBM are building the world’s first national smart utility system.

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  • Featured: June 28, 2011 IBM100 New Business Models for Telecom iconic mark

    New Business Models for Telecom

    IBM100 New Business Models for Telecom iconic mark

    New Business Models for Telecom

    To capture the breakneck growth in India’s telecommunications market, Bharti Airtel needed a new business model. The communications service provider (CSP) worked with IBM business consultants to outsource and integrate functions such as network management, help-desk support and IT. This freed the company to focus on high-value objectives such as new services and customer loyalty. Since 2004, Bharti Airtel has grown from six million subscribers to more than 150 million. This year, Bharti expands its model to Africa, where IBM will manage the computing technology and services for a mobile network spanning 16 countries.

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  • Featured: June 24, 2011 IBM100 The Automation of Personal Banking iconic mark

    CICS

    IBM100 CICS: Securing Online Transactions iconic mark

    CICS

    Securing Online Transactions

    In the late 1960s, IBM engineer Ben Riggins was working on implementing IBM computers for the Virginia Electric Power Company. VEPCO was interested in setting up customer service centers that were tied in electronically to the company’s mainframe—except no software existed to execute transactions from the field. Riggins developed a piece of software called IBM CICS (Customer Information Control System). CICS blossomed into standard IT middleware, and now processes millions of transactions each day. It is considered one of the most important software products of all time, and one of the most profitable products in the history of IBM.

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  • Featured: June 23, 2011 IBM100 Cryptography for a Connected World iconic mark

    Cryptography for a Connected World

    IBM100 Cryptography for a Connected World iconic mark

    Cryptography for a Connected World

    In a world increasingly dependent on electronic data, protected data storage emerged as a critical security concern across all industries and in government. Preparing for this challenge, IBM developed its Data Encryption Standard (DES), a cryptographic algorithm to secure data. In 1977, the US National Bureau of Standards, working with the National Security Agency, adopted DES as the official Federal Information Processing Standard. It quickly became the international standard of protecting sensitive information, keeping the world’s data secure for more than two decades. The wide acceptance of DES solidified IBM’s thought leadership position and holistic approach to data management.

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  • Featured: June 21, 2011 IBM100 Innovating the Fan Experience iconic mark

    Innovating the Fan Experience

    IBM100 Innovating the Fan Experience iconic mark

    Innovating the Fan Experience

    Since 1990, IBM has worked with the All England Tennis Club to make the Wimbledon Championships the smartest professional tennis tournament, delivering a front-row experience to millions of fans around the world. Wimbledon is one of the IBM Media and Entertainment division’s efforts to help its clients, from professional sports leagues to music and movie production companies, develop new business models that embrace innovative ways of delivering content to customers.

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  • Featured: June 16, 2011 IBM100 IBM is Founded iconic mark

    IBM Is Founded

    IBM100 IBM is Founded iconic mark

    IBM Is Founded

    In 1911, international businessman Charles Flint engineered the merger of Hollerith’s Tabulating Machine Company with two other firms—the Computing Scale Company of America, an Ohio manufacturer of meat slicers and scales, and the International Time Recording Company, a maker of industrial clocks. This new conglomerate was named Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, and it bore the seeds of what would become IBM. Recognizing the need for strong leadership to integrate such disparate organizations, Flint hired Thomas Watson Sr. as a general manager in 1914. Ten years later, with revenues of $11 million or roughly 13 times its original annual sales, 3384 employees and a strong vision for the future, C-T-R changed its name to International Business Machines.

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  • Featured: June 15, 2011 IBM100 A Global Volunteer Network iconic mark

    A Global Volunteer Network

    IBM100 A Global Volunteer Network iconic mark

    A Global Volunteer Network

    The IBM On Demand Community was established in 2003 as an online system for IBM employees and retirees to formalize their participation in volunteerism. It takes a uniquely IBM approach with a systems-management foundation, the capability of scaling on a global level and a focus on expertise-based service. The global system connects the strengths and skills of each employee and retiree with programs, resources, software and tracking solutions for a host of volunteer opportunities in education and with not-for-profit organizations. In the past five years, IBM surpassed 10 million hours of volunteer work tracked through the On Demand Community system.

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  • Featured: June 14, 2011 IBM100 Smarter Planet iconic mark

    Smarter Planet

    IBM100 Smarter Planet iconic mark

    Smarter Planet

    In 2008, IBM launched the Smarter Planet agenda as a way to help forward-thinking leaders in business, government and civil society around the world capture the potential of smarter systems to achieve economic growth, near-term efficiency, sustainable development and societal progress. Predicated on the world becoming more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent, Smarter Planet is IBM’s latest “big bet” on the future, with wide-ranging possibilities for improving the transportation, education, energy, food and water systems that run our everyday work and personal lives.

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  • Featured: June 09, 2011 IBM100 Globally Integrated Enterprise iconic mark

    The Globally Integrated Enterprise

    IBM100 Globally Integrated Enterprise iconic mark

    The Globally Integrated Enterprise

    In an essay featured in the May/June 2006 edition of Foreign Affairs magazine, and in a speech given in Bangalore, India, the same year, Samuel Palmisano, chairman and CEO of IBM, outlined his vision of the new globally integrated enterprise. It is the successor to the multinational corporation, which featured smaller versions of the parent company in multiple countries. A globally integrated enterprise is truly global—locating operations and functions anywhere in the world, based on the right cost, availability of skills and supportive business environment. This model is more nimble and less duplicative, and operates well across the flatter world.

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  • Featured: June 08, 2011 IBM100 The Networked Business Place iconic mark

    The Networked Business Place

    IBM100 The Networked Business Place iconic mark

    The Networked Business Place

    IBM PROFS (Professional Office System) was an electronic communication system for the automated office environment. Released in 1981, it supported emails, document creation and management, scheduling functions and spreadsheets, and could be linked to other applications, such as databases. Operated by menu-driven user interfaces, built on the mainframe and properties of virtualization, PROFS was the antecedent to office-wide intranets, providing a platform for early virtual collaboration. IBM’s belief in the power of collaboration continued well beyond PROFS and eventually led to the development of w3—the largest intranet in the world.

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  • Featured: June 07, 2011 IBM100 The Automation of Personal Banking iconic mark

    The Automation of Personal Banking

    IBM100 The Automation of Personal Banking iconic mark

    The Automation of Personal Banking

    The check-clearing process in banking was dramatically enhanced with the introduction of the IBM 801 Bank Proof machine, unveiled in 1934. As a new type of proof machine, the 801 listed, separated and endorsed checks, in addition to recording totals. Since this innovation, IBM has helped reinvent banking around the world, tailoring automated solutions to local business needs and behaviors and bringing greater convenience and efficiency to everyday financial transactions.

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  • Featured: June 03, 2011 IBM100 The Social Security System iconic mark

    The Social Security System

    IBM100 The Social Security System iconic mark

    The Social Security System

    In the midst of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act—creating a gigantic, nationwide information problem with the stroke of a pen. Suddenly, the federal government needed acres of accounting machines to track the paychecks of every working American. There was really only one company that could provide that data processing backbone: IBM. The company provided more than 400 punch card tabulating machines to establish records for 26 million workers.

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  • Featured: June 01, 2011 IBM100 The DNA Transistor iconic mark

    The DNA Transistor

    IBM100 The DNA Transistor iconic mark

    The DNA Transistor

    IBM’s DNA Transistor offers a high-tech, low-cost method for reading the human genome sequence. This 2009 breakthrough technology may soon be used to create better patient profiles, tailor-made diagnoses and treatments informed by genetics—driving down the cost of healthcare, while drastically improving quality of care and quality of life.

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  • Featured: May 26, 2011 IBM100 Corporate Leadership in Environmental Responsibility iconic mark

    Corporate Leadership in Environmental Responsibility

    IBM100 Corporate Leadership in Environmental Responsibility iconic mark

    Corporate Leadership in Environmental Responsibility

    IBM’s environmental programs date back to 1971 when Thomas Watson Jr., formalized the company’s global commitment to environmental protection in a pioneering Corporate Policy on IBM’s Environmental Responsibilities. It called for IBM to address not only the waste that results from manufacturing its products but also to consider the consequences of processes that are established during product development—what became, decades later, a regulatory focus known as “pollution prevention.” Today, thousands of IBMers in diverse roles are actively engaged in driving and implementing the company’s environmental programs and requirements. By the late 1990s, IBM became the first enterprise to achieve a single global registration covering IBM’s global operations to the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Standard.

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  • Featured: May 25, 2011 IBM100 The Origins of Computer Science  iconic mark

    The Origins of Computer Science

    IBM100 The Origins of Computer Science  iconic mark

    The Origins of Computer Science

    At the end of World War II, the Watson Scientific Computing Laboratory at Columbia University became a pioneering powerhouse, marrying academics with corporate research and development. One year after its 1945 opening, the Laboratory also provided the basis for the world’s first computer science curriculum. The course introduced students to the foundational principles of automated data processing. Many of the students who attended these classes became the first proponents of the electronic data processing field.

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  • Featured: May 20, 2011 IBM100 The Apollo Missions iconic mark

    The Apollo Missions

    IBM100 The Apollo Missions iconic mark

    The Apollo Missions

    The seeds of IBM’s involvement in space exploration were planted when Thomas J. Watson established an Astronomical Computing Bureau at Columbia University in the 1930s—decades before NASA was founded. Considered one of history’s greatest scientific achievements, the moon landing is evidence of IBM’s willingness to explore ambitious ideas long before they revealed a path to profitability. IBM has taken part in every US manned space effort in history, working on systems for Mercury, Gemini-Titan and Apollo-Saturn missions, and for the historic 1969 Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. IBM has also helped develop Mission Control for the Gemini, Skylab and US-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz projects, as well as for the Space Shuttle program.

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  • Featured: May 18, 2011 IBM100 Fractal Geometry iconic mark

    Fractal Geometry

    IBM100 Fractal Geometry iconic mark

    Fractal Geometry

    In 1967, IBM researcher Benoît Mandelbrot published the initial findings of what he would later describe as “fractal geometry”—a concept by which mankind could use mathematical properties to describe the rough, non-Euclidean geometrical irregularities that exist in nature. Highly contested in its early years, fractal geometry has since informed significant contributions to science, industry, mathematics, and the arts. This new way of viewing our surroundings, this new perception of reality, has since led to a number of remarkable discoveries about the worlds of nature and man.

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  • Featured: May 16, 2011 IBM100 Silicon Germanium Chips  iconic mark

    Silicon Germanium Chips

    IBM100 Silicon Germanium Chips  iconic mark

    Silicon Germanium Chips

    In 1994, IBM Research patented a method for making low-cost semiconductor chips from Silicon Germanium (SiGe). SiGe was more readily available than the more rare, more expensive materials used at the time, and it improved speed and versatility in integrated circuits. Introducing germanium into the base layer of an otherwise all-silicon chip allowed for significant improvements in operating frequency, current, noise, and power capabilities. These cheaper, smaller, more energy efficient chips expanded the wireless industry, as SiGe chips were used in everything from radar to space exploration. Today, SiGe technology powers a new generation of mobile devices and smart technology.

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  • Featured: May 12, 2011 IBM100 Magnetic Tape Storage iconic mark

    Magnetic Tape Storage

    IBM100 Magnetic Tape Storage iconic mark

    Magnetic Tape Storage

    In the late 1940s, inspired in part by Bing Crosby’s pioneering use of magnetic tape to record his radio shows, IBM engineers started experimenting with tape as a data storage successor to the punched card. 3M developed tape to IBM specifications, while IBM worked on reels with rapid start and stop times, moving tape at 100 to 200 inches per second. The engineers hit upon the idea of using a vacuum column to suck in loops of tape and buffer it from the jarring stops and starts. In 1952, IBM announced the first magnetic tape storage unit, the IBM 726.

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  • Featured: May 10, 2011 IBM100 The Invention of Service Science iconic mark

    The Invention of Service Science

    IBM100 The Invention of Service Science iconic mark

    The Invention of Service Science

    Just as IBM in the 1940s helped create the academic discipline of computer science, so the company is again extending scientific rigor to key emerging dimensions of a changing world. With the world’s economy shifting from manufacturing to services, Service Science, Management and Engineering (SSME) introduces an important new field of study to enable deeper understanding of how this shift manifests itself in particular organizations and across business and society. Since 2003, IBM has worked with 450 university faculties in 54 countries, as well as governments and industry leaders, to build SSME curricula.

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  • Featured: May 05, 2011 IBM100 Pioneering Machine-Aided Translation iconic mark

    Pioneering Machine-Aided Translation

    IBM100 Pioneering Machine-Aided Translation iconic mark

    Pioneering Machine-Aided Translation

    IBM developed its first translation system for the League of Nations in 1931. The system was based upon the 1927 Filene-Finlay patent and enabled speech to be translated and read at the same time using low-power radio and headphones. Listeners could dial in to access the system in their native language. IBM continued its commitment to automatic translation with a system that translated Russian (chosen for complexity) to English in 1934, English to Braille in 1959 and Chinese to English in 1963. Bidirectional English-to-Arabic translation software was deployed in 2006 to improve communication between English-speaking military personnel and Iraqi forces and citizens.

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  • Featured: May 03, 2011 IBM100 The Creation of the World Trade Corporation iconic mark

    The Creation of the World Trade Corporation

    IBM100 The Creation of the World Trade Corporation iconic mark

    The Creation of the World Trade Corporation

    Throughout his tenure as CEO and President of IBM, Thomas J. Watson Sr. maintained a deep interest in international relations. It was under his reign that the company became truly multinational, aggressively expanding operations to Asia, Latin America and Africa. In 1949, Watson created the IBM World Trade Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary, to manage these proliferating operations. In doing so, he hired local people who understood the particularities of the business environments and local cultures in each country. They in turn, trained IBM’s global leadership in the requirements of managing vastly more complex organizations and relationships. Symbolic of his commitment to practice fair and ethical business practices around the world, Watson adopted for the company the new slogan, “World Peace Through World Trade.”

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  • Featured: May 02, 2011 IBM100 IGF: Financing Technical Innovation iconic mark

    IGF

    IBM100 IGF: Financing Technical Innovation iconic mark

    IGF

    Financing Technical Innovation

    IBM Global Financing (IGF) enables the world’s leading corporations to implement critical e-business solutions, by offering total solutions financing. Since its inception, it has become the largest IT financier in the world, offering businesses of all sizes leasing and financing solutions for hardware, software and services acquired not only from IBM, but from the vendors that best suit the needs of the technology and customer. Today, IGF has thriving customers in more than 50 countries.

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  • Featured: April 27, 2011 IBM100 Smarter Healthcare Management iconic mark

    Smarter Healthcare Management

    IBM100 Smarter Healthcare Management iconic mark

    Smarter Healthcare Management

    Guangdong Hospital in southern China treats more than 10,000 patients daily and is known for integrating traditional Chinese medicine with contemporary Western medical practices. IBM is helping the hospital deploy an electronic, patient-centered records system that offers access to a patient’s medical data from any location. Electronic medical records have the potential to save the healthcare industry billions of dollars and prevent billions more misdiagnoses. IBM is working with a variety of industry stakeholders to drive the digitization of records, a critical step in improving patient care. In addition to working with hospitals, IBM is working with Google and Continua Health Alliance to allow individuals to create personal health profiles that capture key medical information.

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  • Featured: April 26, 2011 IBM100 Breaking the Petaflop Barrier iconic mark

    Breaking the Petaflop Barrier

    IBM100 Breaking the Petaflop Barrier iconic mark

    Breaking the Petaflop Barrier

    The IBM computer built for the “Roadrunner project” at Los Alamos National Lab in 2008 was the first in the world to operate at speeds faster than one quadrillion calculations per second—one petaflop. The world’s first “hybrid” supercomputer (using two different processor architectures), Roadrunner is twice as energy-efficient as the next computer—using about half the electricity to maintain the same level of computing power.

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  • Featured: April 20, 2011 IBM100 e-business iconic mark

    e-business

    IBM100 e-business iconic mark

    e-business

    As booming dot-com start-ups brought electronic commerce to consumers, big companies looked on wondering what to do. In the late 1990s, IBM offered a helping hand by recognizing the trend and using its strengths in mainframes, transactions and networking to create a strategy called “e-business.” This was a turning point for corporate America in the Internet Age, showing that big companies—not just Silicon Valley upstarts—had an important future in Web-based collaboration and business.

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  • Featured: April 19, 2011 IBM100 The Optimization of Oil Supplies iconic mark

    The Optimization of Oil Supplies

    IBM100 The Optimization of Oil Supplies iconic mark

    The Optimization of Oil Supplies

    IBM has a long history of using emerging technology to help energy companies find, extract, process and use oil. From using 3-D seismic modeling to locate fields to designing sensing technologies to track oil flow and equipment for optimal safety, IBM is at the forefront of helping the oil industry remain safer, more sustainable, and more productive. As one example, IBM has partnered with companies in Venezuela since 1938, when Mene Grande Oil Company in Maracaibo received its first IBM machines through a new venture called C. A. Watson de Maquinas Commerciales—IBM’s operating name in Venezuela. Since oil was first discovered in Venezuela, IBM has been there, providing technology and infrastructures that adapt according to the needs of the industry.

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  • Featured: April 18, 2011 IBM100 High-Temperature Superconductors iconic mark

    High-Temperature Superconductors

    IBM100 High-Temperature Superconductors iconic mark

    High-Temperature Superconductors

    Superconductors are perfect conductors of electricity and have unusual magnetic properties. The problem, though, was that they only worked at minus 459 degrees Fahrenheit—temperatures only reachable in lab experiments. In 1986, Georg Bednorz and Alex Müller were working with perovskites at IBM’s research lab and found they would superconduct at temperatures far warmer than all previous records. This breakthrough opened a path to numerous useful applications. Superconductors made MRI machines cheaper and faster, helping them spread to hospitals around the world. High-speed rail travel even relies on superconductors. In 1987, Bednorz and Müller were awarded the Nobel prize for their discovery.

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  • Featured: April 13, 2011 IBM100 The Management of Transportation Flow iconic mark

    The Management of Transportation Flow

    IBM100 The Management of Transportation Flow iconic mark

    The Management of Transportation Flow

    The city of Stockholm, Sweden, had a traffic congestion problem. To spur less car use there, IBM developed a road charging system that would directly charge drivers who used city center roads during peak business hours. The system, launched in 2007, covered a 24-square kilometer inner city area with 18 barrier-free control points equipped with cameras and a mix of payment channels. The result was a drop in traffic, increased green vehicle and public transportation use, and an improved overall quality of life for the city’s residents. Today, key lessons learned in the Stockholm project are helping IBM to bring its “smarter” systems approach to aid cities such as Brisbane, Singapore and London in resolving longstanding urban issues.

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  • Featured: April 12, 2011 IBM100 Deep Thunder iconic mark

    Deep Thunder

    IBM100 Deep Thunder iconic mark

    Deep Thunder

    IBM researcher Lloyd Treinish developed a hyper-local weather forecasting capability that combined algorithms, computer modeling and visualization to predict short-range, very local weather. His system was first used at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. By understanding and anticipating weather patterns, businesses and government agencies could better utilize resources, reduce costs and curtail the negative impact of storms—preserving structures and property and saving lives.

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  • Featured: April 11, 2011 IBM100 Websphere iconic mark

    WebSphere

    IBM100 Websphere iconic mark

    WebSphere

    With the height of the dot-com boom ahead of him, the head of IBM Software group Steve Mills called his three top men into his office to discuss how they should “Webify” the company’s top enterprise software tools. The conversation led to the advent of the IBM WebSphere Application Server, released in early 1998. Initially, the WebSphere team focused on rapid development and deployment of web applications supporting HTTP, Servlet and Java Server Pages apps. However, IBM quickly extended WebSphere to transactional applications and beyond, driven by customer needs, and anticipating market shifts. Today, the WebSphere suite of products and services helps businesses set up, operate and integrate electronic applications across multiple computing platforms.

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  • Featured: April 07, 2011 IBM100 Tracking Infectious Diseases iconic mark

    Tracking Infectious Diseases

    IBM100 Tracking Infectious Diseases iconic mark

    Tracking Infectious Diseases

    In 1976, the World Health Organization utilized the IBM System/370 at the United Nations’ International Computing Center in Geneva to precisely map trends and outbreaks of smallpox so that it could best allocate its limited personnel and resources to the most urgent locations. The system became a global model for demographic tracking. Since then, IBM has worked to understand the spread of many epidemics and pandemics. It partnered with the Centers for Disease Control to model the spread of H1N1—the “swine flu”—and developed the Spatiotemporal Epidemiological Modeler for use in tracking bird flu, dengue fever, and other infectious diseases that threaten human wellbeing.

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  • Featured: April 05, 2011 IBM100 The Emergence of the CIO iconic mark

    The Emergence of the CIO

    IBM100 The Emergence of the CIO iconic mark

    The Emergence of the CIO

    In the 1950s and 1960s—and especially with the debut of IBM’s System/360 in 1964—it became clear that computation had become an essential enabler of modern business. There was only one problem: Businesses didn’t possess the knowledge or skills to acquire, deploy and manage computers and data centers. So IBM helped the world’s enterprises learn the field of data processing. Management Information Systems proliferated, and with them a new executive role—the Chief Information Officer.

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  • Featured: April 04, 2011 IBM100 IBM 603 The First Commercial Electronic Calculator iconic mark

    IBM 603

    IBM100 IBM 603 The First Commercial Electronic Calculator iconic mark

    IBM 603

    The First Commercial Electronic Calculator

    The first electronic calculator ever placed into production, the IBM 603, was the first commercial product to incorporate electronic arithmetic circuits. This marked a major shift for IBM, from mechanical to electronic computation. Born from the company’s continuing focus on electronic development, the 603 was part of a program to make an electronic “super calculator” that would perform calculations faster than 1944’s ASCC, a 51-foot-long machine. The result was a considerably smaller device that used vacuum tubes to perform multiplication far more rapidly than earlier electromechanical devices. For the first time, calculations could be done instantaneously.

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  • Featured: March 30, 2011 IBM100 The World Community Grid iconic mark

    World Community Grid

    IBM100 The World Community Grid iconic mark

    World Community Grid

    Although the world’s information processing capacity is growing exponentially, so are the planet’s systemic challenges. IBM’s World Community Grid, released in 2004, makes use of pervasive networking and crowdsourcing to apply supercomputer levels of processing power to urgent healthcare and societal needs. Tapping thousands of individuals’ idle computers, World Community Grid significantly accelerates the progress of cash-strapped scientific and public-service projects. The Grid demonstrates IBM’s commitment to human progress by marrying its human capital and technology resources for research.

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  • Featured: March 29, 2011 IBM100 Building an Equal Opportunity Workforce iconic mark

    Building an Equal Opportunity Workforce

    IBM100 Building an Equal Opportunity Workforce iconic mark

    Building an Equal Opportunity Workforce

    One year before the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. the Board of Education and 11 years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Thomas J. Watson, Jr. issued a policy letter to his employees stating: “It is the policy of this organization to hire people who have the personality, talent and background necessary to fill a given job, regardless of race, color or creed.” IBM has historically taken an intellectual approach to its hiring process, being truly blind to human traits beyond expertise and character. Its diversity initiatives reflect this thinking and have helped redefine the workplace.

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  • Featured: March 24, 2011 IBM100 700 Series iconic mark

    The IBM 700 Series

    IBM100 700 Series iconic mark

    The IBM 700 Series

    Computing Comes to Business

    The 1950s brought challenges for IBM, the undisputed leader in data processing. To stay ahead of the Soviet Union, the US government began helping 14 organizations to develop electronic computers. IBM’s future—and its pride—was at stake. In response, IBM created the 701 in 1951, its first commercial computer. The machine amazed the world. Time Magazine wrote that it would “open up new horizons by rapidly working out complex equations to help discover new products, improve old ones, find out which answers to problems are the best.” IBM President Thomas J. Watson Jr. said the 701 was “the machine that carried us into the electronics business.”

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  • Featured: March 22, 2011 IBM100 Smarter Water Management iconic mark

    Smarter Water Management

    IBM100 Smarter Water Management iconic mark

    Smarter Water Management

    In 2009, IBM and the Marine Institute in Ireland completed the SmartBay pilot information system. The system monitors and analyzes wave conditions, marine life and pollution levels in and around Galway Bay, using an infrastructure of sensors and computational technology interconnected across the bay to collect and distribute information on coastal conditions. The system shifts data gathering from manual to instrumented—allowing researchers to respond quickly to critical challenges, including pollution. The project serves as an example for coastal towns everywhere looking to mitigate pollution and flooding while managing fishing stock. By studying Galway Bay—home to some of the world’s roughest surf—IBM researchers also hope to learn important lessons about harnessing energy from wave power.

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  • Featured: March 17, 2011 IBM100 Predictive Crime Fighting iconic mark

    Predictive Crime Fighting

    IBM100 Predictive Crime Fighting iconic mark

    Predictive Crime Fighting

    For several generations IBM has worked with local governments and police operations to provide technology that aids law enforcement and security. In 1963 the company helped the New York Police Department reduce the time required to identify fingerprints from hours to mere minutes. Today, law enforcement officials in New York, Chicago, Memphis and other cities around the world continue to use data and predictive analytics to take smarter approaches to fighting crime.

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  • Featured: March 16, 2011 IBM100 The Selectric Typewriter iconic mark

    The Selectric Typewriter

    IBM100 The Selectric Typewriter iconic mark

    The Selectric Typewriter

    The typewriter industry changed forever with the invention of the IBM Selectric typewriter in 1961. Prior to this innovation, the conventional typewriter’s basket of type bars inevitably tended to tangle, slowing a typist’s speed. The Selectric was fitted with a golf ball-shaped typing head that replaced the type bar carriage, reducing the amount of space the typewriter took up on the desktop. The silver-colored “golf ball” element circumvented the jamming issue: with no bars to tangle, typists’ speed and productivity soared. The IBM Selectric became the most successful electric typewriter model ever made, dominating the high-end office typewriter market for 25 years.

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  • Featured: March 15, 2011 IBM100 The Global Innovation Jam iconic mark

    A Global Innovation Jam

    IBM100 The Global Innovation Jam iconic mark

    A Global Innovation Jam

    IBM’s 2006 Innovation Jam was the largest IBM online brainstorming session ever held. IBM brought together more than 150,000 employees, clients, and constituents from 104 countries and 67 companies. As a result, ten new IBM businesses were launched around innovations ranging from electronic health record systems to branchless banking. In all, IBM committed a seed investment totaling $100 million in innovative services and products as a result of the Jam.

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  • Featured: March 14, 2011 IBM100 Linux iconic mark

    Linux

    IBM100 Linux iconic mark

    Linux

    The Era of Open Innovation

    IBM’s decision to support Linux brought the power of open source innovation to IBM servers, systems and solutions. In 2000, IBM announced it would invest $1 billion in Linux, with a concerted focus on improving the operating system from within the Linux community, transitioning all IBM systems to run Linux and optimizing existing IBM hardware and software to become Linux-ready. The commitment caught the attention of CEOs and CIOs all over the world, drove down customer costs while increasing flexibility and represented a significant validation of open source innovation. Today, Linux is the fastest-growing operating system in the world.

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  • Featured: March 11, 2011 IBM100 A Culture of Think iconic mark

    A Culture of Think

    IBM100 A Culture of Think iconic mark

    A Culture of Think

    In a sales meeting at NCR, an angry Thomas Watson Sr. barked at his staff “what you men have to do is THINK!” With that, he wrote THINK on a flip board and told an assistant to put the word on plaques and give them out. When Watson joined the nascent C-T-R in 1914, he brought the THINK slogan with him. By the1920s, C-T-R became IBM, THINK signs appeared in many locations and the slogan became synonymous with the company as it attracted the media spotlight. With THINK as the mantra, Watson created a culture of independent thinkers and impassioned sellers, empowering a large, dispersed workforce.

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  • Featured: March 10, 2011 IBM100 The Making of International Business Machines iconic mark

    The Making of International Business Machines

    IBM100 The Making of International Business Machines iconic mark

    The Making of International Business Machines

    In the 1920s, Computer-Tabulating-Recording Company was not very big and not very international, but it was a fast-growing, small tech company with outsized ambitions. One of those was to be a global company, at a time when few companies thought that way. Watson began sending lieutenants overseas to start branch companies that would be run by local managers, an unusual approach when most companies appointed Americans to run overseas operations. Inspired by broad company names like General Electric and General Motors, Watson changed C-T-R’s name to International Business Machines, emphasizing its global aspirations. Today IBM operates in over 170 countries.

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  • Featured: March 09, 2011 IBM100 Accessible Workforce iconic mark

    The Accessible Workforce

    IBM100 Accessible Workforce iconic mark

    The Accessible Workforce

    In 1941, IBM hired a legally blind employee, psychologist Dr. Michael Supa, to assist in the hiring of 181 people with disabilities over the following two years. Dr. Supa later helped IBM make its products more adaptable to the needs of the visually impaired. His motto was “No person is handicapped if he has the right job.” Dr. Supa is just one example of IBM’s progressive employment practices, which started with the hiring of its first disabled employee in 1914—76 years before the Americans with Disabilities Act. IBM has pioneered a number of technology solutions that enhance accessibility, such as the Home Page Reader, an early Braille printer and speech recognition technology.

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  • Featured: March 08, 2011 IBM100 Good Design is Good Business iconic mark

    Good Design Is Good Business

    IBM100 Good Design is Good Business iconic mark

    Good Design Is Good Business

    Thomas Watson Jr. hired architect and industrial designer Eliot Noyes in 1956 to create the Corporate Design Program at IBM as its first consultant design director. The program brought an increased design sensibility to architecture, graphics, industrial design, interiors, exhibits and fine art procurement at IBM. Noyes designed a system for the presentation of IBM products as well as the larger IBM brand, from the showroom at 590 Madison Avenue in New York to products like the IBM Dictation Machine. From aesthetic to function, design reflected IBM’s true corporate mission to use advanced technology to improve the way people live and do business.

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  • Featured: March 07, 2011 IBM100 IBM PC iconic mark

    The PC

    IBM100 IBM PC iconic mark

    The PC

    Personal Computing Comes of Age

    On August 12, 1981, at a press conference at the Waldorf Astoria ballroom in New York City, Phillip “Don” Estridge announced the IBM Personal Computer (IBM 5150) with a price tag of $1,565. Two decades earlier, an IBM computer often cost as much as nine million dollars and required an air-conditioned quarter-acre of space with a staff of 60. The new IBM PC was not only faster, it put a computer within every household’s reach. The IBM PC helped revolutionize the way the world does business. One year later, it earned Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” award.

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  • Featured: March 04, 2011

    Blue Gene

    Blue Gene

    The driving strategy behind IBM’s $100 million dollar, 5-year development project in the 1990s was to leverage Scalable Parallel Processing with practical purpose: weather prediction, oil exploration, and complex manufacturing processes. To “do more with less,” IBM engineers embarked on a quest to dramatically increase the computer’s speed and efficiency while decreasing its size. Designed in partnership with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the first Blue Gene helped biologists observe the previously invisible processes of protein folding and gene development. Each iteration took the technology further — and together, the Blue Gene series revolutionized the economics of supercomputing.

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  • Featured: March 03, 2011 IBM100 FORTRAN iconic mark

    FORTRAN

    IBM100 FORTRAN iconic mark

    FORTRAN

    The Pioneering Programming Language

    Programming early computers meant using an arcane “machine code” specific to each computer. IBM programmer John Backus found a better solution. In 1957, he and his team produced the first high-level language, FORTRAN (for FORmula TRANslator). A FORTRAN program could run on any system with a FORTRAN compiler, which translated Backus’s code to machine code almost as efficiently as a good programmer. For the first time, code was comprehensible to people other than programmers, giving mathematicians and scientists the ability to write programs they could share on different systems. FORTRAN was a significant step toward freeing software from the constraints of its hardware.

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  • Featured: March 02, 2011 IBM100 he Mapping of Humanity's Family Tree iconic mark

    The Mapping of Humanity's Family Tree

    IBM100 he Mapping of Humanity's Family Tree iconic mark

    The Mapping of Humanity's Family Tree

    Who am I? How did we get here? Launched in 2005, National Geographic’s Genographic Project aims to answer these questions. IBM and the Genographic Project began gathering human DNA from across the world and analyzing it for genetic markers that signal a deviation—or branch—in our family tree. By examining our ancestral roots, researchers can draw a more complete picture of humanity’s migratory history. IBM is providing the analytics to read the more than 400,000 samples collected so far. Through this project, IBM has gained tremendous knowledge of genetic variation and has become the world’s first company with a genetic non-discrimination policy.

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  • Featured: March 01, 2011 IBM100 Sabre iconic mark

    Sabre

    IBM100 Sabre iconic mark

    Sabre

    The First Online Reservation System

    IBM worked for six years with American Airlines to develop a reservation system that would allow the company to quickly track, fill and file records of the hundreds of passengers that packed its new jets. The system was an enormous success, and similar models were later sold to Pan Am and Delta. The Sabre system enabled a major transformation not only of airline reservations, but also of revenue management, cargo, pricing, scheduling and operations. More significantly, Sabre paved the way for real-time online transactions—also known as Online Transaction Processing (OLTP)—a precursor of everything from ATM machines to Internet commerce.

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  • Featured: February 28, 2011 IBM100 Corporate Service Corps iconic mark

    Corporate Service Corps

    IBM100 Corporate Service Corps iconic mark

    Corporate Service Corps

    The IBM Corporate Service Corps (CSC) program was launched in 2008 to create leadership development opportunities for IBMers while delivering expertise-based service for the communities and organizations in emerging markets. To date 1000 IBMers have participated in CSC projects that tackle issues from local economic development, entrepreneurship, transportation and education, to government services, healthcare and disaster recovery. Corporate Service Corps teams now serve in over twenty countries around the world.

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  • Featured: February 25, 2011 IBM100 The IBM Punched Card iconic mark

    The IBM Punched Card

    IBM100 The IBM Punched Card iconic mark

    The IBM Punched Card

    From the beginning of tabulation, stiff rectangular cards punched with holes became the way data was recorded and stored. As IBM grew to dominate data processing by the 1920s, its cards—which only worked on IBM machines and vice-versa—became the global industry standard. In 1928, IBM improved on the cards’ design so more data could be stored on a single card. From the 1950s through about 1970, IBM punched cards were the primary way corporations and governments stored and accessed information, making the cards the most durable, successful data storage medium since the book.

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  • Featured: February 24, 2011 IBM100 The First Corporate Science Research Laboratory iconic mark

    The First Corporate Pure Science Research Laboratory

    IBM100 The First Corporate Science Research Laboratory iconic mark

    The First Corporate Pure Science Research Laboratory

    “Think” was at the core of Watson’s being. In 1945, he established the Watson Scientific Computing Laboratory at Columbia University, the first corporate laboratory dedicated to pure scientific research. There, a handful of scientists used machines previously dedicated to accounting to investigate everything from atomic fission to the orbit of the moon. Embedding IBM within a university helped to develop a diverse new field of thinkers. Today, eight IBM labs work with government and university research labs worldwide. This new model of “collaboratories” allows the company to stretch its budget and access some of the best minds on the planet.

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  • Featured: February 23, 2011 IBM100 DRAM iconic mark

    DRAM

    IBM100 DRAM iconic mark

    DRAM

    The Invention of On-Demand Data

    In the mid-1960s, IBM researcher Bob Dennard developed the world’s first one-transistor memory, calling it “dynamic random access memory,” or DRAM. Finally, mainframes could be outfitted with short-term memory to act as a buffer to the data stored on disk drives. The memory chips would hold information the computer was working on right then, so it could go back to the disk drive only when it needed something new. This vastly sped up the process of accessing and using stored information. DRAM instantly made computer memory smaller, denser and cheaper, all while requiring less power.

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  • Featured: February 22, 2011 IBM100 Scanning Tunneling Microscope iconic mark

    Automated Test Scoring

    IBM100 Scanning Tunneling Microscope iconic mark

    Automated Test Scoring

    IBM pioneered the measurement of academic performance with 1937’s IBM 805 Test Scoring Machine. This machine was able to score tests in less time than it took to manually mark the answer sheet, and was many times more accurate. Its innovative pencil-mark sensing technology gave rise to the ubiquitous phrase, “Please completely fill in the oval.” The innovation came into use just prior to World War II, when the government relied on the machine to process and place large numbers of applicants into jobs.

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  • Featured: February 21, 2011 IBM100 Scanning Tunneling Microscope iconic mark

    Scanning Tunneling Microscope

    IBM100 Scanning Tunneling Microscope iconic mark

    Scanning Tunneling Microscope

    The scanning tunneling microscope (STM) revolutionized our ability to manipulate solid surfaces the size of atoms. Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer of IBM’s Zurich Research Center were awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering the STM. And the STM, in turn, has led to other discoveries on a “nano” scale, playing an essential role in the blossoming of nanotechnology. It was vital in the 1990s discovery of fullerenes, which led to the development of the carbon nanotube. The Nobel committee said the invention opened up “entirely new fields... for the study of the structure of matter.”

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  • Featured: February 18, 2011 IBM100 System/360 iconic mark

    System 360

    IBM100 System/360 iconic mark

    System 360

    From Computers to Computer Systems

    Few products in history have had the massive impact that the IBM System/360 has had—on technology, on the way the world works, or on the organization that created them. The System/360 ushered in the era of computer compatibility—for the first time allowing models across a product line, and even from other companies, to work with each other. It marked a turning point in the emerging field of information science. After System/360, the industry no longer talked about automating particular tasks with “computers.” Now, technology providers talked about managing complex processes through “computer systems.”

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  • Featured: February 17, 2011 IBM100 Optimization of Global Railways iconic mark

    The Optimization of Global Railways

    IBM100 Optimization of Global Railways iconic mark

    The Optimization of Global Railways

    IBM’s first customer in Italy, the Italian state-owned Ferrovie dello Stato (Italian Railways) turned to IBM in 1928 to automate its administrative processes. The result was an inventory of spare parts that drastically reduced waste and statistical traffic analysis that helped to schedule and allocate trains. Italian Railways was one of the first organizations to fully exploit the advantages of IBM’s large-scale, large-volume data management capabilities. IBM’s work there led to railway engagements in India, the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, France, Guatemala, Hungary, Mexico, Poland and Yugoslavia.

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  • Featured: February 14, 2011 IBM100 A Computer Called Watson iconic mark

    A Computer Called Watson

    IBM100 A Computer Called Watson iconic mark

    A Computer Called Watson

    IBM’s computer, code-named “Watson” leverages leading-edge Question-Answering technology, allowing the computer to process and understand natural language. It incorporates massively parallel analytical capabilities to emulate the human mind’s ability to understand the actual meaning behind words, distinguish between relevant and irrelevant content, and ultimately, demonstrate confidence to deliver precise final answers. In February of 2011, Watson made history by not only being the first computer to compete against humans on television’s venerable quiz show, Jeopardy!, but by achieving a landslide win over prior champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

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  • Featured: February 11, 2011 IBM100 Rise of the Internet iconic mark

    The Rise of the Internet

    IBM100 Rise of the Internet iconic mark

    The Rise of the Internet

    In 1987, IBM, working with the U.S. National Science Foundation and our partners at MCI and Merit designed a new high-speed National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) to connect US universities and 6 US-based supercomputer centers. The NSFNET greatly increased the capacity of the Internet (increasing the bandwidth of backbone links from 56 Kilobits/sec to 1.5 Megabits/sec to 45 Megabits/sec) and greatly increased the reliability and reach of the Internet—reaching more than 50 million users in 93 countries when management of the Internet infrastructure was transferred to the telecom carriers and commercial Internet Service Providers in 1995.

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  • Featured: February 10, 2011 IBM100 Ramac iconic mark

    RAMAC

    IBM100 Ramac iconic mark

    RAMAC

    The First Magnetic Hard Disk

    The world’s first hard disk drive was the size of two kitchen refrigerators set side by side. It contained 50 disks spinning at 1,200 revolutions per minute, supplying data at 100,000 bits per second. It was the IBM RAMAC (Random Access Method of Accounting and Control), and it allowed enterprises to think about data in new ways—mixing and matching it on the fly, allowing each bit of information to be read or changed randomly. Along with IBM’s magnetic tape drive, the 1956 release of RAMAC essentially launched the data storage industry.

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  • Featured: February 08, 2011 IBM100 Excimer Laser Surgery iconic mark

    Excimer Laser Surgery

    IBM100 Excimer Laser Surgery iconic mark

    Excimer Laser Surgery

    In 1981, three IBM scientists—Rangaswamy Srinivasan, James Wynne and Samuel Blum—discovered how the newly invented excimer laser could remove specific human tissue without harming the surrounding area and do so on an extremely minute scale—a process that became the foundation for LASIK and PRK surgery. The painless procedure, which changes the shape of the cornea, has improved the vision and quality of life for millions of people around the world.

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  • Featured: February 04, 2011 IBM100 Magnetic Stripe Technology iconic mark

    Magnetic Stripe Technology

    IBM100 Magnetic Stripe Technology iconic mark

    Magnetic Stripe Technology

    In 1969, IBM engineer Forrest Parry had a problem. He was trying to affix a strip of magnetized tape with a piece of plastic to create an identity card for the CIA, but he was struggling to combine the two components. When he mentioned the problem to his wife, who happened to be ironing clothing at the time, she suggested that he use the iron to melt the strip on. He tried it, and it worked. The magnetic stripe, when combined with point-of-sale devices and data networks, was one of the catalysts that accelerated the proliferation of credit card usage around the world, transforming commerce forever.

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  • Featured: February 03, 2011 First Salaried Workforce mark

    The First Salaried Workforce

    First Salaried Workforce mark

    The First Salaried Workforce

    Thomas Watson Sr. always believed in making his workers feel dignified. In 1934, he bucked a trend toward paying factory workers in piecework, instead paying by the hour. Continuing the tradition, in 1958 IBM became the first industrial organization to place all regular, hourly-rated domestic employees on a salary basis. This change in pay practice made all domestic employees part of same basic compensation plan, providing its workforce with economic stability and equality.

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  • Featured: February 02, 2011 IBM100 Optimizing the Food Supply iconic mark

    Optimizing the Food Supply

    IBM100 Optimizing the Food Supply iconic mark

    Optimizing the Food Supply

    IBM worked with the Danish government in 1988 to create a nationwide cattle registry. This National Cattle Database collected and managed a breadth of information on 1.2 million bovine animals—including yield, breeding abilities, herdbook, medical history and even udder size and shape. The database has enabled farmers to optimize the breeding and yield of every cow and provided the Danish government with the visibility and traceability critical to the export of agricultural products. IBM continues to help governments, farmers and fisheries around the world develop smarter food chains to maximize yield and ensure safety and quality.

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  • Featured: February 01, 2011

    The Floppy Disk

    The Floppy Disk

    The IBM engineers who developed the floppy disk never could have dreamed that it would soon become instilled in the fabric of consumers' lives. It was originally designed for large-scale systems, as a more efficient form factor for IBM's System/370 mainframe data loads. But soon, the disk's small size and ever-increasing storage capabilities led to its adoption by smaller systems as well. Usable, durable and flexible, the floppy disk quickly became ubiquitous as the preferred storage medium for the emerging personal computer industry.

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  • Featured: January 28, 2011 IBM100 Sage: The First National Air Defense Network

    SAGE

    IBM100 Sage: The First National Air Defense Network

    SAGE

    The First National Air Defense Network

    In the depths of the cold war, IBM was contracted to help safeguard the United States by building an air defense system known as the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE). When fully deployed in 1963, the system consisted of 27 centers throughout North America, each occupying an acre of floor space. SAGE was the first large computer network to provide man-machine interaction in real time. It provided the user with speed, altitude, and weapons availability data. Fortunately, while SAGE made available a number of formative computer technologies, much of its capabilities never had to be put into use.

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  • Featured: January 26, 2011 IBM100 IBM 1401: The Mainframe Visit IBM100 to explore today's Icon of Progress

    IBM 1401: The Mainframe

    IBM100 IBM 1401: The Mainframe Visit IBM100 to explore today's Icon of Progress

    IBM 1401: The Mainframe

    In 1959, IBM introduced the 1401, the first high-volume, stored-program, core-memory transistorized mainframe computer. Its versatility in running enterprise applications of all kinds helped it become the most popular computer model in the world in the early 1960s. IBM also introduced the 1403 chain printer, which launched the era of high-speed, high-volume impact printing. The 1403 was unsurpassed in quality until the advent of the laser printer in the 1970s. The 1401 was the first computer system in the world to reach 10,000 unit sales.

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  • Featured: January 25, 2011 IBM100 UPC: The Transformation of Retail

    UPC

    IBM100 UPC: The Transformation of Retail

    UPC

    The Transformation of Retail

    The UPC barcode system came into being as the result of one man's breakthrough moment, while working under a dramatically tight deadline. This 1973 invention turned into one of the most profound contributions to industrial technology. A truly universal standard, the UPC is among the most recognized designs in history, and typically IBM: an elegantly simple matrix of information that can be customized for almost any type of transaction and can yield as much data as needed. For retailers, the UPC meant savings, better customer service, precise inventory control, and rich stores of marketing data. UPC changed the point-of-sale experience forever.

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  • Featured: January 21, 2011 IBM100 Patents and Innovation Visit IBM100 to explore today's Icon of Progress

    Patents and Innovation

    IBM100 Patents and Innovation Visit IBM100 to explore today's Icon of Progress

    Patents and Innovation

    By hiring engineer and inventor James W. Bryce in 1917, Thomas Watson Sr. showed his commitment to pure inventing. Bryce and his team established IBM as a long-term leader in the development and protection of intellectual property. By 1929, 90 percent of IBM's products were the result of Watson's investments in R&D. In 1940, the team invented a method for adding and subtracting using vacuum tubes—a basic building block of the fully electronic computers that transformed business in the1950s. This pattern—using innovation to create intellectual property—shaped IBM's history.

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