Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Joins IBM CEO Samuel J. Palmisano and City Students as They Learn the Skills They Need for Tomorrow’s Jobs
Wednesday Jun 15th, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined approximately 100 middle school students as they met with Schools CEO Dr. Andres Alonso and IBM Chairman and CEO Samuel J. Palmisano at Digital Harbor High School to learn about careers requiring science, technology, engineering, and math backgrounds. These skills are critical to developing a highly-skilled and adaptable workforce, such as at IBM—a company celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding tomorrow.
“I want to thank IBM for mobilizing volunteers to give back to schools, communities, and government,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “I am grateful that we are working together to maximize the effort of your volunteers to tackle our challenges and make lasting and meaningful change in Baltimore.”
Today’s event celebrated IBM’s tradition of public service on the eve of the company's centennial celebration. It coincided with hundreds of thousands of other IBMers who are also volunteering in communities worldwide. A native Baltimorean, IBM’s CEO chose Baltimore—where he was born, raised, educated, and where he started his IBM career—as one of the places in which he is giving back to the community.
Students learned about IBM's Watson, the computer that triumphed on the TV game show Jeopardy! Watson specializes in analyzing natural human language and can provide specific answers to ambiguous and complex questions. With the aid of an interactive quiz show format, students at the event gained a better appreciation for how technologies like Watson can help improve the world and what skills students need to drive future innovation. They were also challenged to think of ways in which they might one day make similar scientific breakthroughs.
“It makes all the sense in the world to be volunteering here in Baltimore for our Celebration of Service on the eve of IBM's centennial,” said James Sellinger, IBM's Senior Location Executive for Baltimore, and Vice President for Technical Sales. “Our company has been in Baltimore since 1915. And, like Baltimore, we have a long and proud tradition at IBM of public spiritedness and innovation. I'm confident that the students we're meeting with here today in Baltimore will help be part of a generation that will one day help continue to build a smarter planet.”
Work to further develop Watson's advanced analytics capabilities is being conducted with assistance from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, which is one of two medical schools collaborating with IBM scientists to apply Watson's capabilities in a way that will help healthcare providers work smarter and more efficiently while improving patient diagnostics.
Watson, named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, was built by a team of IBM scientists who set out to accomplish a grand challenge—build a computing system that rivals a human's ability to answer questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy, and confidence. Beyond competing on Jeopardy!, Watson holds enormous potential to transform the ways computers help people accomplish tasks in business, communities, and their personal lives.
IBM volunteers were also trained this morning at Digital Harbor High School for the Achievement Counts Speakers Bureau, created by the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education.
The volunteers were part of IBM's employees, business partners, and retirees participating in IBM's "Celebration of Service" during its centennial year, when there is a special emphasis on IBM volunteerism around the world to help with civic challenges and societal needs.
Since January 2011, 200,000 IBMers, retirees, and their families have donated more than 2 million hours of service to communities worldwide in more than 170 countries where IBMers live and conduct business. More than half of IBM’s workforce is participating in skills‑based volunteering in communities today. IBM employees have given 13 million hours of volunteer service since 2003.
For more information on the IBM Centennial, visit: www.ibm100.com.