IBM Dublin Lab working on semantic web project for BBC

20 Sep 2010

A semantic web project for the BBC was among a number of key projects explored at IBM’s European Extreme Blue Expo in Dublin last week, when 100 of Europe’s top students descended on the city to explore the theme of a Smarter Planet.

The IBM Extreme Blue European Expo, IBM’s incubator for talent, technology and business innovation, took place this year in Dublin. The theme of the Expo was ‘Smarter Planet’, with participants from the Netherlands, UK, France, Germany, Belgium and Ireland showcasing their projects.

The Extreme Blue Programme challenges third-level students to develop the technology and business plan for a new product or service that addresses an existing market issue and “start something big”.

Among the 19 innovative projects showcased were: Smarter Rail – improving passenger experience; Smarter Healthcare – leveraging cloud infrastructure for regional health agencies; Smart Work – revolutionising how personalised news and information over the internet is presented using business analytics.

Also demonstrated was a cutting-edge BBC online media project hosted by John O’Donovan, chief architect for the BBC News and Sport Interactive division. The Dublin Lab is working with them on a ‘Semantic Web’ project.

Towards a sustainable knowledge economy

“The IBM Extreme Blue European Expo is an excellent example of how industry, education and government are working together to promote science and technology education,” Conor Lenihan, TD, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, said.

“A central element of the Government’s strategy is to develop a sustainable knowledge economy in Ireland. In order to do this, it is essential that our young people are mentored by experts and afforded opportunities to develop their ideas from theory to practical application in the marketplace.

“The IBM Extreme Blue Programme has been a tremendous success in this regard with Irish undergraduates having a strong record in producing innovations that have been patented and included in IBM products.”

The student interns work in small project teams, for an intense 12-week period, alongside their IBM mentors and industry leaders. This combination creates a team dynamic that fosters collaboration and helps the interns create solutions that could well succeed in the marketplace.

“Extreme Blue offers very real opportunities to solve challenging business issues,” said Peter O’Neill, country general manager, IBM Ireland.

“The programme has the ability to establish future business and technical leaders. We at IBM are very proud that these innovative projects are being showcased in Dublin.”

The Extreme Blue Programme worldwide has grown from a summer internship in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, with just 25 students, to a worldwide program that draws more than 360 top interns from around the globe in 2010.

Since 1999, the global program has hosted more than 1,700 students with more than 480 strategic projects; filed more than 500 invention disclosures and contributed solutions to open source community.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years