Tag Archives: role

HR chatbots from Google, IBM to be in the spotlight at HR Tech 2018

The role of big vendors, such as Google and IBM, in HR technology is expanding as their expertise in conversational robotic intelligence powers some of the chatbots used in HR applications. That observation will be evident this week at the HR Technology Conference & Expo in Las Vegas where HR chatbots will be in the spotlight.

The tech giants’ relationship to HR chatbots is analogous to Intel’s role with PC makers that slap “Intel Inside” stickers on their laptops. The machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) technologies developed by large technology sellers give chatbots conversational capabilities.

“A chatbot stands and falls with the quality of the dialogue,” said Holger Mueller, principal analyst at Constellation Research. “Users will drop and not use [a chatbot] if the answers don’t make sense,” he said.

Conference attendees assessing HR chatbots, in effect, make two bets on any one application. They not only evaluate the HR application but also the capabilities of the vendor that built the underlying, AI-related chatbot technology, whether it’s from Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Google or some other provider. This technology is key “for the whole solution to work,” Mueller said.

Google’s new Dialogflow powers conversational recruiting

A chatbot stands and falls with the quality of the dialogue.
Holger MuellerPrincipal analyst, Constellation Research

Earlier this year, Google, for instance, announced general availability of its Dialogflow Enterprise Edition. This is Google’s platform for creating voice and text conversation and is based on its machine learning and NLP development.

Google’s technology was adopted by Brazen Technologies, which provides online hiring chat events and a recruiting platform. In late August, Brazen announced a “conversational recruiting” capability based on Google’s system, which provides the underlying chatbot intelligence.

The chatbot conversational capability is assisted by human recruiters who prewrite answers to expected questions that a candidate might ask. The system also conducts an initial screening to try to find qualified people, said Joe Matar, director of marketing at Brazen. He expects the capabilities of conversational HR chatbots to improve rapidly, but it will be a long time before they replace a recruiter’s core skills, such as relationship building, he said.

IBM Watson powers management coaching

LEADx, which is announcing its learning platform at the start of the HR Technology Conference, is using IBM Watson in its product, Coach Amanda.

Coach Amanda aims to improve managerial skills with the help of a virtual trainer. The system uses the Watson Personality Insights module, as well as its natural language conversational capabilities. The Insights program diagnoses personality to help shape the chatbot response, as well the answers and learning materials it delivers to the manager, said Kevin Kruse, founder and CEO of the firm.

Kruse said it works like this: A user can type or speak to the chatbot and ask, for instance, “What is the definition of employee engagement?” The manager may follow with a question about seeking tips on employee engagement. The chatbot answers these questions with material from a resource library based on what it knows about the manager.

The underlying IBM NLP technology has to figure out what the manager is asking about. Is the question about an employee problem? Is the manager seeking advice? Or, said Kruse, is the manager seeking a resource?

But not all firms use big vendor chatbot platforms to power HR chatbots.

HR chatbots at 2018 HR Technology Conference & Expo
HR chatbots will be in the spotlight at this year’s HR Technology Conference & Expo.

In-house and open source seen as superior by some

Jane.ai is designed to make all of a company’s information available, whether it is in a PDF or spreadsheet or resides in applications such as ServiceNow, Workday, Salesforce or among team members. HR is one of the major uses of the application, and that’s why this firm will be at the 2018 HR Technology Conference. SearchHRSoftware is the media partner for the conference.

David Karandish, founder and CEO of Jane.ai, said the system was developed in-house but also used some open source tools, such as software in Stanford CoreNLP, which provides a suite of language tools. Jane.ai developed proprietary algorithms to make matches and mine documents, he said.

An employee can use the chat system, for instance, to check vacation time or ask a question about HR policies. It can put in an IT ticket or schedule a meeting with staff.

The firm is up against the large IT vendors in AI-related development, but Karandish said the big vendor HR chatbots weren’t necessarily designed to solve a business problem. That’s why Jane.ai went with the in-house approach, he said.

“A lot of companies are coming out with cool tech, but they haven’t figured out how to actually go solve real problems with it,” Karandish said.

Lazarus Group hacker charged in Wannacry, Sony attacks

The Department of Justice has officially charged one member of the North Korean Lazarus Group for his role in the Wannacry attacks, the Sony Pictures breach, theft on the SWIFT banking system and more.

Nathan Shields, special agent for the FBI, filed an affidavit of complaint against the Lazarus Group hacker, Park Jin Hyok, on June 8, 2018, but the charges were made public Sept. 6.

Park was charged with conspiring to commit “unauthorized access to computer and obtaining information, with intent to defraud, and causing damage, and extortion related to computer intrusion” and wire fraud.

“The evidence set forth herein was obtained from multiple sources, including from analyzing compromised victim systems, approximately 100 search warrants for approximately 1,000 email and social media accounts accessed internationally by the subjects of the investigation, dozens of orders issued … and approximately 85 formal requests for evidence to foreign countries and additional requests for evidence and information to foreign investigating agencies,” Shields wrote in the affidavit.

Shields wrote that the affidavit was “made in support of a criminal complaint against, and arrest warrant” for Park, but there is no indication the DoJ knows where Park is currently located. The last mention in the affidavit noted Park returned to North Korea in 2014 after spending three years working for North Korean company Chosun Expo in China.

Although Park was the lone Lazarus Group hacker named in the filing, the entire North Korean team was implicated in the 2014 Sony Pictures breach, the 2016 theft of $81 million from Bangladesh Bank via the SWIFT network, the 2017 Wannacry ransomware attack as well as “numerous other attacks or intrusions on the entertainment, financial services, defense, technology and virtual currency industries, as well as academia and electric utilities.”

“In 2016 and 2017, the conspiracy targeted a number of U.S. defense contractors, including Lockheed Martin, with spear-phishing emails. The spear-phishing emails sent to the defense contractors were often sent from email accounts that purported to be from recruiters at competing defense contractors, and some of the malicious messages made reference to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system deployed in South Korea,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California wrote in its  press release. “The attempts to infiltrate the computer systems of Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for the THAAD missile system, were not successful.”

Confirmation of North Korean involvement

Park is the first Lazarus Group hacker named and officially charged by the U.S. government, but the Lazarus Group and North Korea has been connected to attacks before.

As far back as Dec. 2014, the FBI stated there was enough evidence to conclude that North Korea was behind the attack on Sony Pictures. And, in Dec. 2017 both the U.S. and U.K. governments blamed the Wannacry attacks on North Korea.

The affidavit detailed the use of the Brambul worm, which was malware attributed to the Lazarus Group in a US-CERT security alert issued by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security in May 2018.

However, while the confirmation of North Korean involvement was generally praised by experts, not all were happy that Park was the only Lazarus Group hacker to be named and charged.

Jake Williams, founder and CEO of Rendition Infosec, based in Atlanta, wrote on Twitter that it was a “human rights issue” to charge Park because the Lazarus Group hacker “likely had zero choice in his actions.”

New survey: What parents think about technology in the classroom |

As a former educator, I’ve always been conscious of the parent’s role – essentially as their child’s first teacher – and their unique, valuable perspective on learning. Parents remember the ways they were taught in school and often have valid questions and thoughts on the new ways children learn, and about the curriculum being taught.

With summer coming to an end and parents sending their children back to school, Microsoft wanted to understand how parents felt about technology in the classroom. What did they really think of the importance of learning digital skills? Microsoft Education partnered with YouGov and surveyed parents in the U.S. with children aged 18 and under and found most parents are hopeful about what technology will do for their kids. [Download the accompanying infographic here.]

Parents optimistic about technology

The survey asked parents how they felt about the role of technology in their child’s life as that child grows up. In reply, 60 percent said they felt “optimistic” or “hopeful.”

Understandably, parents felt differently about tech depending on where it’s being used. When asked about tech use between home and school, 63 percent of parents cited concerns about their kids spending too much time on devices at home, while 86 percent of parents believed tech in school – including computers and educational software – would be helpful to their child’s education.

When I was teaching I would often talk to parents about screen-content, not just screen-time, and whether the engagement with digital content was active (like creating an animation) or passive (viewing a movie). It’s encouraging seeing parents understand that, when used in the right way, technology can help prepare their children for the jobs of the future and help them succeed.

 

The importance of Computer Science and learning digital skills

Using technology to learn isn’t the only way to prepare children for the future, however. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, 52 percent of job growth by the year 2020 will be in the fields of computing and mathematics, which shows a great importance in teaching Computer Science and digital skills in classrooms today.

According to the survey, half (50 percent) of parents believed coding and computer programming to be the most beneficial subject to their child’s future employability.

Another promising result: Parents felt strongly about the positive role federal and state governments can play in ensuring their children are learning these subjects. The survey sample indicated strongly that parents would like to see increased government support to help schools build kids’ digital skills.

When asked about the technology industry’s involvement, 75 percent of parents said they believe big tech companies should be involved in helping schools build kids’ digital skills. Many companies, including Microsoft and organizations like Code.org, are working to do just that. Programs like TEALS, which is supported by Microsoft Philanthropies, pairs trained Computer Science professionals from across the technology industry with classroom teachers to team-teach the subject.

Tech tips for teachers this school year

With parents seeing the importance of their children learning with technology and being taught Computer Science, coding and digital skills, the survey points to good news for teachers who work every day to ensure the children in their classrooms are prepared for the future.

Teachers work incredibly hard to bring the best and most inspiring learning opportunities to their classrooms. We celebrate and thank them.

For those teachers just starting to explore the potential of Computer Science in their classroom, I’d recommend these three simple approaches:

  1. Open up the conversation with your students. What do they understand CS to mean? What jobs are unlocked with CS?
  2. Take a short course and get started in Computer Science.
  3. Get involved with the Hour of Code.

Happy teaching!

Survey methodology

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 3927 adults, of which 1011 were parents of children under 19. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2nd – 6th August 2018.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults.

CIO or chief digital officer role? Why not both?

What is the CIO role in digital transformation? For Gail Evans, who, until June 20, was the global CIO at consulting firm Mercer, the role was two-pronged: optimize the consulting firm’s core legacy systems and lead digital transformation efforts. In this video appearance at the 2018 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium in May, it’s clear Evans wouldn’t have had it any other way. Earlier this month, however, the firm saw otherwise, promoting her to the global chief digital officer role.

While she had not yet assumed the chief digital officer role when this video was recorded, Mercer sounded very much like the firm’s digital leader: Here, she talks about building the “Mercer OS,” a new agile operating system where business people are brought in as product managers, working side by side with technologists to deliver results at digital speed. She also stressed that when pursuing a new digital frontier, organizations must find ways to bring the core IT team along for the journey.

Editor’s note: This transcript was edited for clarity and length.

Were you hired at Mercer to lead the digital transformation effort?

Gail Evans: Well, I was brought in as a CIO and then my CEO double-hatted me, and so I am now leading both. I am also optimizing the core. You can imagine over the years, we have many applications, but they are still very valuable. And so, we are thinking about what is digital-ready for our core, what does that mean and how do we go after the most important applications? We’re landing in API management and really trying to figure out how do we connect value differently for our clients, because our clients are customers. At the end of the day, those are the people we need to ensure are getting value, a better experience, a better partnership to go on this [digital transformation] journey because they are going on the journey as well, and who better to take them on it than Mercer?

So, you are CIO and also taking on the chief digital officer role. Is there a clear delineation of duties between the two jobs?

Evans: I think it’s a blurred line. Sometimes, when it comes to transforming a technology, it’s a little blurred. But when you have the additional responsibility for revenue, for digital native businesses, that’s where the separation occurs, right? And so we’re looking at opportunities to figure out how we make that happen, because that puts me at a different place. Managing a P&L (profit and loss) or digital revenue business, digital native business is quite a bit different than a technology transformation.

But bringing them together, I think, in the beginning was the right move for the colleagues, because the colleagues see a journey that’s not separated.

At first you have to build, like the Mercer OS, you have to build a capability that is Agile, that is continuous delivery that now you move from, ‘Hey, I’ll deliver that for you in a year,’ to you can do it in six months. We have a few very large programs that we’ve transformed in that way, where the business becomes product managers and product owners and a scrum team and combine. All of that is very new. It is that operating model that we are replicating across the enterprise.

How do you replicate that new operating model across the enterprise?

Evans: Once you roll out a technology… — a new set of technologies and a new skill — everyone wants to be a part of it. But if you leave the core team behind, you create a separation. So, what they were challenged with is finding ways to apply Agile to their domain. You need to find a way to apply it. Hey, instead of writing a library, write a service and put that service on an API gateway and [embrace] reusability so the entire enterprise can take advantage of it. Everyone gets an opportunity to contribute. And that worked.

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The Future Computed: Artificial Intelligence and its role in society

Channel firms benefit from Docker MTA strategy

IT consultants are playing an important role in Docker’s Modernize Traditional Applications program, citing its “land and expand” approach as particularly beneficial for customer engagements.

The software vendor debuted the MTA program, which bundles services and Docker Enterprise Edition with hybrid cloud infrastructure from technology partners, this past April at the DockerCon 2017 conference. The aim of the Docker MTA program, the vendor said, is to support enterprise customers in modernizing their legacy applications, letting organizations start by transitioning one or more apps to containers, so they can see the benefits of containerization firsthand.

The Docker MTA program developed after the company learned the clearest high-value use case is the “ability to very quickly Dockerize applications, including traditional ones,” according to David Messina, senior vice president of marketing at Docker, based in San Francisco. Dockerized applications can result in “amazing operational efficiencies,” he said, such as savings from maintenance dollars that customers can then use to fund new innovations.

Alan Geary, senior director of channel alliances and sales at Docker, noted that, besides operational efficiencies, Dockerizing applications can offer customers improved agility, security enhancements and portability — all of which partners can demonstrate rapidly through the Docker MTA  program. “You get these terrific value propositions and statements proved to the customer in a quick 30-day engagement.”

Docker technology components
Review the components of Docker technology.

Partners benefit from Docker MTA strategy

Glen Tindal, practice director at Capstone Consulting, a Premier Docker partner based in Omaha, Neb., said “the whole idea” of the MTA program is a “crawl, walk and run” approach for customers.

[embedded content]

Docker’s Brandon Royal discusses the
containerization of legacy applications
at DockerCon 2017.

A customer, for example, starts by porting one to three applications to a container, Tindal said. Through this narrow engagement, customers can evaluate the fiscal and technical benefits and then decide to do further containerization projects, tapping Capstone for its expertise.

The Docker MTA program resonates with enterprise customers, “without a doubt,” Tindal said.

He noted that Capstone’s partnership with Docker has been exceptionally positive and collaborative since Capstone became an active partner about a year ago. “They truly understand it is a ‘better together’ story,” he said, adding that Docker has been open with sharing its roadmap and insight into the industry, as well as receptive to partner feedback.

Showing enterprises the benefits of containers

Nebulaworks, a technology consulting and advisory firm located in Irvine, Calif., has partnered with Docker since 2014. At the time, Nebulaworks was “just a fledgling company,” but developed a symbiotic relationship with the vendor over time, said Chris Ciborowksi, Nebulaworks’ co-founder and CEO.

Ciborowski said Docker thinks of Nebulaworks as a group of technical experts that can solve “the edge cases for their customers” and support customer success. “We are a set of technical experts that understand the things that [Docker] customers and our customers are trying to do beyond the scope of what the Docker team can actually service,” he said, adding, Docker isn’t “in the business of professional services and consulting.”

The Docker MTA program shows customers ‘how, one, the platform works [and,] two, how you take [traditional] applications and quickly get them into containers and … see the benefits from a cost or performance perspective.’
Chris CiborowskiCEO of Nebulaworks

The company has also become a go-to partner for providing customers with training on Docker technologies, he said. “One of the things that we focus on as part of our go-to-market strategy in helping customers transform is upskilling people.” Ciborowski said Nebulaworks’ training business “has skyrocketed” and “has been a huge win.”

Nebulaworks has been actively involved in the Docker MTA initiative since the program’s launch. Ciborowski said the program is valuable to partners and customers because it shows “how, one, the platform works [and,] two, how you take [traditional] applications and quickly get them into containers and … see the benefits from a cost or performance perspective.”

Looking ahead at Nebulaworks’ partnership with Docker, Ciborowski expects the Docker sales team to mature, resulting in more consulting business for Nebulaworks. “The tool is actually a pretty easy thing to implement and get going.  But I think the more difficult thing is integrating the tool with the rest of the DevOps toolchain and putting optimized processes in place to actually drive value using the tool. … That is where we sit, so I am only expecting things to ramp [up] from here,” he said.

Teens play an active role in their own online safety, new Microsoft research shows – Microsoft on the Issues

It’s fundamental that each of us plays a critical role in our own online safety, and young people and teens are no exception. Adults could take a cue from teens in this area, however, as teenagers are more likely to act in response to online risk, defend others and ask for help, according to preliminary results of a new Microsoft study.

Nine in 10 teens polled said they acted in response to an online risk; nearly two-thirds (65 percent) said they stood up for others in the digital space, and more than three quarters (77 percent) asked for help when they encountered online abuse. That compares to 84 percent of adults who acted in response to an online risk, 59 percent who defended someone else and 60 percent who asked for help. Teens outpaced adults across all three categories. In addition, 56 percent of teens said they knew where to go for help with an uncomfortable online situation, compared to just one-third of adults.

Microsoft study expands research launched last year
The findings are from Microsoft’s latest research on digital civility — encouraging safer and healthier online interactions. The study, “Civility, Safety and Interaction Online — 2017,” polled teens ages 13-17 and adults ages 18-74 in 23 countries. This year’s results build on a study done last year that surveyed the same age groups in 14 countries. In 2017, there were 11,584 teens and adults polled in total.

Indeed, it’s up to young people – with solid guidance from parents, teachers, technology companies and others – to understand their digital rights and responsibilities, to recognize the risks and benefits of their online communications and transactions, and to realize the personal and ethical implications of their online behavior. These are some of the reasons Microsoft organized its pilot Council for Digital Good this year.

Council for Digital Good members want to improve life online for all
Last month, we welcomed to Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington, campus 15 teens from across the U.S., selected to explore the state of digital civility and how to foster a kinder, more respectful and empathetic web.

Council members have embraced their assignments and dove into how to go about making changes for the better when it comes to online life. In addition to drafting individual written manifestos for responsible online behavior, the teens created artistic representations of their manifestos after they returned home. We’ve received two rap songs, one video of an interpretative dance, several visual arts projects, animations and other imaginative creations.

Here is a photo of an artistic manifesto from Erin, a 15-year-old from Michigan, as well as a link to a video produced by 16-year-old Rees from Maryland. We’ll make other council members’ projects available on our website and other online properties soon.

Council for Digital Good teen artwork
Erin’s manifesto artwork.
Student video screenshot saying
A screenshot from Rees’ manifesto video.

And, teen council members were in demand before they even arrived on campus for the two-day August summit. We let nongovernmental organizations and other partner groups know that we were forming the council, and that it would be in operation for about 12 months. Several NGOs expressed interest in tapping our teens for their thoughts and perspectives about various campaigns and other work that their groups were planning.

New Thorn PSA aims to raise awareness of ‘sextortion’
One such organization was Thorn, which asked for teen council members’ feedback on a public service announcement (PSA) it was developing about “sextortion.”

Sextortion takes place when someone threatens to distribute private and sensitive material if a victim fails to provide money, or images of a sexual nature or sexual favors. (The perpetrator may also threaten to harm a victim’s friends or family members by using information obtained from the victim’s electronic devices unless the victim complies with the abuser’s demands.)

Thorn wants to make teens aware of common tactics used in sextortion, to destigmatize the issue by raising awareness, and to promote open conversations with trusted adults so teens have a stronger safety net in place if something goes wrong. Thorn held an online focus group with our teens in late July, just days before council members arrived for the Council for Digital Good summit.

Thorn’s new PSA launched Tuesday, and Microsoft is helping to draw attention to this clever and informative resource that benefited from the teens’ input. Council members liked the approach and imagery, saying that the cat video animation made it easier to broach a sensitive subject. While still in development, the teens said the PSA was a resource they would promote on social media and share with their friends. We congratulate Thorn on the new video, and look forward to hearing of many tens of thousands of views and “likes.”

Materials like the new Thorn PSA are essential to generate interest among teens and young people to safeguard their online reputations and to help instill safer online habits and practices. For more about Thorn’s mission, visit the Thorn website.

To learn more about online safety, Microsoft’s Council for Digital Good and digital civility, visit Microsoft’s website, review our resources, “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

[1] Countries surveyed: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam.

Tags: Council for Digital Good, Online Safety

Veritas CEO talks analytics, GDPR and digital transformation

LAS VEGAS — In his role as Veritas CEO, Bill Coleman sees massive change taking place in the data protection world. And Coleman knows that brings great opportunities and great challenges to his company.

Veritas Technologies is the market leader in traditional backup, but the current version of the company has been around only 20 months since its spin out from Symantec. Besides its traditional challengers, such as Dell EMC and Commvault, Veritas faces fast-growing Veeam Software and converged data protection newcomers such as Rubrik and Cohesity. All of these vendors want to cash in on the digital transformation and ensuing changes to the backup world.

Part of Coleman‘s job as Veritas CEO is to make sure his company has all the pieces to deal with modern day backup. He predicts the traditional data protection market will undergo a 360-degree change in the next several years in which backup, disaster recovery and archive will be part of a large policy-driven, multicloud service. Changes are already coming with the rise of the cloud’s role in data protection and new customer challenges from the likes of ransomware and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

We spoke with Veritas CEO Coleman at the recent Veritas Vision 2017 conference about how those changes will affect the future of backup.

Does the Veritas platform have all the pieces it needs to be a full-scale data management platform and deliver on the company’s promises?

Bill Coleman: We have all the pieces we need except for object store [announced at Veritas Vision 2017]. That completes the pieces. Now how do you fill them out? We can visualize a handful of data sources with Information Map. Now we’ve added 23 additional sources, whether it is Google store, Box, Oracle, Microsoft Office 365, and so on. We are going to continue to build those out. We are going to containerize all our products. We are going to build advanced appliances that can support that and different kinds of workloads.

Next year we will publish our APIs and we’ll also ship our software development kit so third parties can build their applications for our platform. Last year, I said we are going to be a platform company and we are going to build a first-generation platform, which we have done. Then we will build a follow-on to that, which I call the Enterprise Data Management platform that will be an end-to-end, purpose-built, cloud-native, microservice, container-based architecture. But the key to that is adding the analytics plane. So we will add a plane to separate all the analytics services and provide all the abilities to discover and manage not just the enterprise data but any other data based on whatever problem you are working on.

There will be no concept of backup. Those will be just policies. … That is the next-generation world.
Bill ColemanCEO, Veritas Technologies

We will use predictive analytics; identify the data sources both internally and externally. We’ll mine the metadata and take that to determine what data you actually need to turn that into a dynamic warehouse and solve that problem. We’ll support the products we have and the 360 Data Management over the next three to five [years.] We will migrate everything to be done in that next-generation platform in which there will be no concept of backup. Those will be just policies; set the level of reliability you want. That is the next-generation world.

What do you see the data protection market looking like in five to 10 years? Will we still be talking about the complexities of backup?

Coleman: You are right, that world is changing. It is being compounded by the fact that things are moving everywhere. Data is not just in the data center anymore. It’s in the cloud. It’s in lots of clouds and it is in lots of SaaS applications. So that makes things a lot more complex. All the [data protection] capabilities will still be there. Those will just be assumed.

In a world of software-defined, there is no difference between backup, archive and disaster recovery. There are just the policies of where you put [data] and how many times. As an enterprise, if you are being required to do governance on your data, you have to figure out what is in the Oracle Cloud, the Amazon Cloud. … What I believe in five to 10 years, the world is going to be software-defined. Hyperscale and portability will be assumed. No enterprise is going to be locked into one platform.

A big, well-known company wants to move all mission-critical to the cloud over the next few years. What the CEO told me is he wants to be able to manage three clouds simultaneously, based on policy and process and time. So it’s going to be a utility. It’s going to commoditize everything we know about hardware and software. The customer’s site might not even own a data center. Veritas does not even own a data center anymore. All of our IT is run mostly on IBM Cloud, some on managed services.

As Veritas CEO, you speak with a lot of large IT organizations. What are you hearing from customers about the European Union’s GDPR? In general, how far along are companies in being compliant? What stage are they in?

Coleman: We did some analysis on this recently. About a third to a quarter think they have a plan and they are moving in the direction of trying to solve the problem. Another quarter to a third does not think it applies to them. And those in the middle think it may apply and they are not yet moving.

When we started our GDPR trek at the beginning of the calendar year, I set a goal that we will have the products and services to support GDPR for unstructured data and some structured data by the beginning of October. So we have those practices and they are moving along. But I believe by the beginning of October, lights are going to go off and there is going to be a lot of panic out there.

We only solve part of the problem because a lot of it is a business problem and a legal problem. We are teaming with companies like Deloitte. I suspect that as we get close to next May [the deadline for compliance], many companies are not going to be ready. I suspect what the EU will do is similar to what our SEC does. They will say. ‘OK you have to have this much of a plan by here, etc.’ I just don’t think companies will be ready. I talked to one of the biggest banks in Europe and their head of strategy said they don’t know where to look to find the personal identifying information. And they are a European bank.

Describe digital transformation.

Coleman: Digital transformation is about doing analytics and machine learning to adapt your business processes, your supply chain, your products and customer engagement model based on data. It has to be better, faster and cheaper. You can do that in a more personalized way and that is how to compete. It’s not just your data but it’s any other source of data out there that can help solve whatever problem you are trying to solve in your business model.

That’s digital transformation. And it is a transformation. It’s not a disruption. In a disruption world, only a startup wins because the economics are such that the incumbent can’t counter it. But this is a transformation so no one is going to say, ‘I’m just throwing out everything I have in storage backup and adopting that startup.’ That means the incumbents get to win if they are good enough.

Microsoft establishes Quantum Centre at the University of Copenhagen – University of Copenhagen

06 September 2017

Partnership

The University of Copenhagen plays a central role in an ambitious Microsoft multi-million dollar investment.
Today, the tech company and the University signed a long-term collaboration agreement on the development of a general-purpose, scalable quantum computer. This is a project which opens up tremendous new opportunities for science and technology.

The Niels Bohr Institute’s Centre for Quantum Devices (Qdev), headed by Professor Charles Marcus, will be pivotal in the collaboration between Microsoft and the University of Copenhagen.

The Niels Bohr Institute’s Centre for Quantum Devices (Qdev), headed by Professor Charles Marcus, will be pivotal in the collaboration between Microsoft and the University of Copenhagen.

By virtue of a new collaboration agreement with the University of Copenhagen, Microsoft is intensifying its investment at the Niels Bohr Institute. Microsoft employees will be working closely with the Institute’s researchers to develop and build the world’s first general-purpose, scalable quantum computer. The task for the Microsoft employees is to turn knowledge gained from research into tangible reality. The announcement of this deepened partnership, which includes the expansion of facilities at the University’s North Campus, will further establish Niels Bohr’s Copenhagen as a global epicentre for quantum mechanics in perfect alignment with the vision of Greater Copenhagen as a global hub for science and innovation.

“The University of Copenhagen’s quantum research contributes to placing Danish research at the very top, which was evidenced today by the IT giant, Microsoft, expanding its investment in a Quantum development centre in Denmark. It’s a perfect example of how a university can create value in collaboration with the business sector from all over the world,” says the Danish Minister for Higher Education and Science, Søren Pind.

Basic research and business meet

For Thomas Bjørnholm, Prorector for Research and Innovation at the University of Copenhagen, today’s multi-year agreement with Microsoft is the culmination of a sustained and extremely focused research partnership within quantum technology.

“When a company such as Microsoft chooses to situate and invest heavily into a research development center at the University of Copenhagen, it’s because we’ve had a significant focus on building up one of the world’s leading quantum research environments. We’re very proud of this and are confident that it will reinforce a strengthened perception of Denmark as an attractive destination for international investments,” the Prorector says.

It started with Bohr

The Niels Bohr Institute’s Centre for Quantum Devices (Qdev), headed by Professor Charles Marcus, will be pivotal in the collaboration between Microsoft and the University of Copenhagen. The research at the Institute draws on Niels Bohr’s own research into quantum physics and is amplified by Microsoft’s investment in state-of-the-art laboratories and specialized Quantum equipment and tools at the University of Copenhagen over the coming years. This, in turn, makes the University of Copenhagen and Denmark an increasingly attractive destination for global Quantum talent.

“The critical pillars for successful and productive Quantum research already exist at the University of Copenhagen – an aligned vision between Microsoft and the University, an exceptional team of top Quantum researchers, a broad and deep pool of post doctorate and student talent, and a solid baseline of facilities and equipment dedicated to Quantum research. We look forward to harnessing this to make impressive advancements in the research and development of a useful, scalable quantum computer capable of transforming the global economy and solving the world’s hardest problems,” says David Pritchard, Chief of Staff for the Artificial Intelligence and Research division at Microsoft.

One of four centres

Together with the effort and activities across Qdev and Microsoft, the other quantum research centres at the University of Copenhagen, including the Centre for Quantum Optics (Quantop), the Centre for Quantum Photonics, the Villum Centre for the Mathematics of Quantum Theory (Qmath) and the Quantum Innovation Centre (QuBiz), will augment the open Quantum research that the University will generate, further propelling the University into the global Quantum spotlight.

In addition to establishing ‘Station Q Copenhagen’ via this new chapter of Microsoft and the University’s partnership, Microsoft has also established partnerships with universities in the Netherlands, Australia and the United States. Station Q Copenhagen is one of only four prestigious experimental Station Q sites in the world, alongside Purdue University, Delft University of Technology, and the University of Sydney.

Computers based on quantum technology have the potential to solve and execute complex mathematical calculations much faster than any existing computer built with ordinary bits. Bits that are based on quantum particles, known as qubits, will –when stabilised and integrated into a computer– generate unprecedented performance. This will translate into the ability to create significant opportunities and tackle pressing challenges like global warming, material and drug design, IT security and encryption, and more.

Main points of the collaboration agreement

• Microsoft is establishing state-of-the-art Microsoft research and development laboratories at the University of Copenhagen North campus in close proximity to the Niels Bohr Institute.

• Presently, over a dozen Microsoft employees ranging from engineers to developers are situated at the University of Copenhagen. Over the course of the new long-term agreement, the size of this team will grow, partnered with University personnel in the development of a topological quantum computer.

• In addition to the multi-million dollar investment in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, Microsoft is also committing to significant quantum research funding at the University of Copenhagen.

• The collaboration between the University of Copenhagen and Microsoft will be based at the Centre for Quantum Devices (Qdev) and helmed by Professor Charles Marcus. Charles Marcus is Microsoft’s Scientific Director of Station Q Copenhagen.

• An agreement capturing the elements of the collaboration has been signed covering the license rights to Microsoft and the University of Copenhagen. The agreement reflects the interests of the parties and takes into account applicable legislation and guidelines in this area.

The collaboration between the University of Copenhagen and Microsoft is a landmark example of the science and research made capable by joining public and private interests. Together, via this new phase of the partnership, the team is poised to make critical strides in topological quantum computing in furtherance of the quantum economy – locally and globally.

Contact

Prorector for Research and Innovation Thomas Bjørnholm tel.: + 45 28 75 18 35

Communications adviser Christian Hedegaard tel.: + 45 31 14 87 82