2011 marks IBM’s Centennial, and coincidentally marks the ten-year anniversary of my first internship with the company. Watching the video above, it’s easy to see that the company has had a significant impact on our lives as citizens of a digital era. This is why I work here.
In 2001 and 2002, IBM holds a contract with the US Postal Service for the point-of-sale system used in twenty-five of the fifty US states, totaling around 20,000 terminals. I had the opportunity to work on tiny pieces of it.
- In 2003, IBM is developing POWER4+, the follow-on to the world’s first dual-core processor. I join the team responsible for testing the acoustics, power, and cooling of the largest, refrigerator-sized configurations.
- In 2004, I complete my undergraduate degree and join IBM’s Extreme Blue business innovation program for an internship focused on mobile speech technologies (see the video — “This computer speaks English.”). My team, “Outspoken,” resurrects a node from Deep Blue, which in 1997 beat Gary Kasparov in Chess. We write a voice-enabled app allowing players to compete against Deep Blue with simple voice instructions like “Knight to C4.” Our team eventually files seven patent applications protecting this and other demo apps we create.
- In 2005, IBM’s Systems and Technology Group receives its first silicon for what would become the world’s fastest processor several years later. I complete my Masters degree, and join the team responsible for turning a ~$10 lump of sand, copper, and gold into a $10,000 microprocessor. My first day in the lab coincides with the arrival of our first few processor modules.
In 2006, my area spins off a small, temporary team to prototype energy-saving technologies for POWER processors. I present technologies from my previous job to IBM Chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano.
- In 2007, IBM officially-funds our “temporary” team and we create what would eventually become IBM EnergyScale Technology, a part of the company’s broader “Project Big Green” initiative. I earn an Outstanding Innovation Award for the development of EnergyScale.
- In 2008, IBM reveals the Power 575 and Power 595, the world’s fastest UNIX servers. My team receives an internal award for innovations incorporated into these machines, and EnergyScale becomes a must-have base feature for our next generation of servers. The Register publishes an article about POWER6 titled, “IBM smacks rivals with 5.0GHz Power6 beast (Then pours water on them).“
In 2009, IBM continues to lead in patents granted in the United States. I’ve filed fifteen patent disclosures. My first patent is granted — in China. I lead a small part of the team responsible for POWER7’s first platform, the Power 750 / Power 755. It eventually is the first IBM system to ship with POWER7 in 2010.
- In 2010, IBM releases the complete POWER7 product family. I file my 28th patent application, and join my current team, working to make current constraints on computer hardware designs irrelevant.
- In 2011, as we celebrate our centennial, IBM’s Watson will compete in a multi-day televised match of Jeopardy, running on POWER 750 systems that I helped (in a tiny way) to create. In 2011, we’ll continue to change the world.
That’s what I’m working on. This is why I’m an IBMer.