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IBM Research
Almaden's 20th Anniversary

About the Almaden Research Center

May 31, 2006

Scientists at IBM's Almaden Research Center perform basic and applied research in computer science, services, storage systems, physical sciences and materials science and technology. Opened in 1986, Almaden continues the IBM Research legacy started in San Jose more than 50 years ago. Of Almaden’s 408 Research employees, 328 are in technical functions and more than half of these hold Ph.D.s. With 11 Fellows, eight Distinguished Engineers, nine Master Inventors and 21 members of the IBM Academy of Technology, Almaden is one of IBM’s most innovative research labs, per capita. Almaden's research is organized into four areas:

Science and Technology

Science and Technology develops important new technologies critical to IBM’s leadership in information technologies, as well as a deep understanding of the underlying science. One focus is on chemical materials and processes, such as advanced photoresists for high-resolution lithography and dielectric materials. A second set of programs explores new materials and concepts for future technologies, such as novel nonvolatile memory cells based on magnetic-tunnel-junctions or organic electronics. As a third strategic thrust, Almaden scientists conduct fundamental research in scientific areas aimed at expanding knowledge for continued growth of the IT industry's core technologies and to create the bases for new IT paradigms. We are recognized worldwide as leaders in nanotechnology -- we were first to position individual atoms and we have built some of the world's most sensitive microscopes. Almaden scientists have also made advances in magnetic thin films, spin physics, quantum computing, quantum cryptography and the computer simulation of biological molecules and materials dynamics.

Computer Science

Computer Science provides innovations, technologies and solutions for computing, data management and Internet applications. Research areas include advanced database solutions, middleware systems and technology for knowledge management, user design for human-computer interaction, Web technologies, content management, services-oriented architectures and e-commerce, e-utilities and computer science principles and methodologies. We build upon our core strengths in data management, knowledge management and content management to expand into other middleware opportunities, especially e-business and e-utilities. We have expanded our relationship with IBM Global Services (IGS) -- delivering innovative helpdesk solutions, search technologies and knowledge management solutions. We are also well-positioned for research in human-computer interaction and its impact on e-business. We bring academic rigor to many of our inventions (e.g. cryptography protocols, data mining algorithms, etc.), and are at the leading edge of research about the Web. We developed techniques in rights management for securely distributing digital material and are also known as leaders in privacy.

Storage Systems

Storage Systems conducts research in storage appliances, controllers and networks, storage and systems management software and parallel file systems. Storage systems are increasingly becoming central to the emerging world of connected networks and pervasive devices. Storage requirements are growing at an explosive rate and, increasingly, they must provide high performance and 24/7 availability, along with low total cost of ownership. Some estimate that 70 percent of future IT spending will go toward storage systems. We have strong relationships with IBM Systems Group, Tivoli and IGS and have made major contributions to IBM products such as Shark and Tivoli Storage Manager. We helped create the iSCSI industry standard and invented the technologies underlying the new TotalStorage Volume Controller and TotalStorage SAN File System products. Our Collective Intelligent Bricks (CIB) project is investigating an innovative modular and highly scalable system concept to increase the reliability of future storage systems while reducing size, cost and power usage. Data would be distributed over a number of simple storage "bricks" -- each with a microprocessor, a dozen disk drives and wireless network communications hardware.

Almaden Services Research

Almaden Services Research (ASR) studies the human side of doing business, addressing the large-scale, people- and information-intensive challenges that enterprises face in today’s global economy. By understanding these challenges from the perspectives of people, practices, communication and technology, companies can identify new opportunities to generate revenue, save money, and improve workers' lives. ASR researchers are experts in a variety of disciplines such as computer science, economics, anthropology and sociology.

Services represent over 75 percent of the U.S. economy; companies are seizing new business opportunities by building more efficient IT systems, streamlining their business processes and embracing the Internet, which leads to an enormous need for innovation in services. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of individuals with comprehensive knowledge of business, people and information technology - the combination most needed to provide effective services. Moreover, there are few focused efforts aimed at preparing people for this new environment or even understanding it. As services become an increasingly larger part of the global economy, IBM has joined with other corporations and universities to develop a new academic curriculum, Services Sciences, Management and Engineering, to provide the skills necessary to satisfy the growing need for service workers.

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