June 17, 2003
McDonnell Douglas Auditorium, University of California, Irvine

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On Demand Systems

Dr. Alfred Z. Spector
Vice President of Services and Software, IBM Research Division

Over the 50 years of modern computer science, computer systems have had a demonstrated capacity to automate an enormous variety of tasks, and per-task costs have been greatly reduced. However, there are two key challenges on the horizon: 1. In many areas, further declines in transaction costs by traditional means are subject to the laws of diminishing returns. 2. The complexity of infrastructure management threatens to outweigh the benefits of further automation. In this talk, I shall illustrate these two dilemmas and describe a research agenda aimed at them. One foundation of this agenda is process integration with a heavy focus on continual optimization -- the application of mathematical techniques to optimize operations at many systemic levels and at varying granularities of time. The other foundation is autonomic computing -- worked aimed at automating automation. I shall survey some research projects at IBM that are related to these two areas, but attempt also to more broadly describe the overall territory.

Dr. Alfred Z. Spector is vice president of Services and Software in IBM Research's Division responsible for setting IBM's worldwide research strategy in support of its Services and Software businesses. Recently, Dr. Spector was an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University's Computer Science Department and Senior Technical Strategist in IBM's Application and Integration Middleware (AIM) business, which has responsibility for a number of IBM software product families including CICS, WebSphere, MQSeries, and WebSphere Studio and Eclipse. Previously, Dr. Spector was the general manager of Marketing and Strategy for IBM's AIM business, and the general manager of IBM's Transaction Systems business. Dr. Spector was also founder and CEO of Transarc Corporation , a pioneer in distributed transaction processing and wide area file systems, and an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University . Prior to joining Carnegie Mellon, Dr. Spector was affiliated with the IBM San Jose (now Almaden) Research Laboratory while in graduate school.
Dr. Spector received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University on the topic of multiprocessing architectures for local area computer networks and his A.B. in Applied Mathematics, Magna cum Laude, from Harvard University .


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