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Keynote speaker: Rob High

Rob High

The Emerging Era of Cognitive Computing

As computing systems get assimilated deeper and deeper into the fabric of everyday life we are more often exposed to the reality that computers really can't understand us -- not deeply. And yet, if they could do a better job of understanding our written works and how we reason about problems, the potential for computing to assist us in making decisions would be tremendous. With the broadcast of the Jeopardy! game show on U.S. television in 2011 IBM Watson demonstrated that computers could do exactly that. Watson read tens of millions of electronic documents -- documents written to communicate in natural language with other humans. Watson reasoned about the question being asked -- thinking through the puns, innuendoes, mis-direction, and general ambiguity of human language to determine the best answer to questions. In doing so, it performed with the proficiency of the grand champions of the game. Since then, IBM has gone on to apply Watson's cognitive skills in areas as diverse as assisting clinicians identify appropriate and compelling treatment therapies for cancer patients, assisting clients make decisions about insurance purchases, through to helping professional and amateur chefs craft novel and delightful recipes. And this is just the start.  We are at the beginning of a new of computing -- the Era of Cognitive Computing. 

About the speaker

Rob High is an IBM Fellow, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Watson Solutions, IBM Software Group. He has overall responsibility to drive Watson Solutions technical strategy and thought leadership. As a key member of the Watson Solutions Leadership team, Rob works collaboratively with the Watson engineering, research, and development teams across IBM.

Prior to joining the Watson Solutions team, Rob was Chief Architect for the SOA Foundation and member of the IBM Academy of Technology, Rob championed an open industry architectural definition of the principles of business and IT alignment enabled by SOA and Business Process Optimization, as well as ensuring IBM's software and services portfolio is architecturally grounded to enable for efficient SOA-based solutions. This responsibility extended across the IBM software portfolio, including WebSphere, Rational, Tivoli, Lotus, and Information Management offerings.

Rob has 37 years of programming experience and has worked with distributed, object oriented, component-based transaction monitors for the last 26 years, including SOMObject Server, Component Broker, and the WebSphere Application Server. Rob previously served as Chief Architect for the WebSphere foundation with architectural responsibility for the WebSphere Application Server and the related products integrated on that core runtime.



Keynote speaker: Keith Swenson

Keith Swenson 

Questions for a learning organization

Business Process Management (BPM) is a discipline for continuously improving a process, and for measuring the effectiveness of that process according to the overall end-to-end goals of the organization.  This has been shown to work well on small, isolated processes, but is there any evidence that this works on large, organizational level processes?  There a surprising lack of evidence that it does.  Even the basic assumption that one should find a single best practice for work runs counter to what the best management and military thinkers recommend.  Parallel examples from other kinds of complex systems show that attempts to improve the system are often based on naive assumptions that fail to take into account the complex interactions, and sometimes have disastrous negative effects.   This talk will question, without answering, some of the assumptions that form the foundation for BPM.

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About the speaker

Keith Swenson is Vice President of Research and Development at Fujitsu North America and is the Chief Software Architect for the Interstage family of products. As a speaker, author, and contributor to many workflow and BPM standards, he is known for having been a pioneer in collaboration software and web services. The standards which development Mr. Swenson has helped include WfMC Interface 2, OMG Workflow Interface, SWAP, Wf-XML, AWSP and WSCI. He is currently working on standards such as WS-CAF and ASAP. He is currently also the Chairman of the Workflow Management Coalition.

In the past, he has led agile software development teams at MS2, Netscape, Ashton Tate & Fujitsu.

In 2004 he was awarded the Marvin L. Manheim Award for outstanding contributions in the field of workflow.  Mr. Swenson is a co-author on more than 10 books.  In 2010 his book “Mastering the Unpredictable” introduced and defined the field of adaptive case management, and established him as a Top Influencer in the field of case management.  

He blogs at


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