Jim Wasko

by Jim Wasko, Director, Linux Technology Center, IBM

Column: Real-time analytics at work in industries from sports to healthcare

Published December 23, 2014


COLUMN--There’s no operating system more ubiquitous than Linux—it’s everywhere. Linux has supported businesses and organizations everywhere for years, with Linux servers now representing 28.5 percent of all server revenue. However, its openness and flexibility has now made Linux the platform of choice for new, innovative, and unexpected applications. And with big data and cloud being put to use in more and more unexpected industries, Linux’s reach is continuing to expand. In fact, The Linux Foundation found that the diversification of the platform has led to an increased demand for Linux pros.

Sporting events generate vast amounts of data, a potential gold mine for the avid fan—and Linux is unlocking the insights. In sports like tennis, data fluctuations can be unpredictable, fueled by more competitive match-ups that can cause higher viewership. This made Linux the ideal platform for all four grand slam tennis tournaments, which utilize Linux running on IBM infrastructure to support their events. This solution allows the tournaments to deliver real-time information from analytics, cloud computing, mobile devices and social media—instantaneously—to millions of online fans and broadcasters around the world. At the U.S. Open, Linux scoring analytics, data collection, distribution, and a unique and interactive online user experience. And because the flexibility and reliability of Linux make it the optimal platform for big data, the U.S .Open chose Linux to implement an IBM big data solution on Hadoop on Linux on Power.

With the rush to build a truly connected car, auto makers are turning to open source technologies like Linux to fast track the development of in-car services. Toyota and IBM are working together to create an onboard devices and application development environment for Toyota Open Vehicle Architecture based on Linux. This ecosystem of mobile app developers and content providers can now better collaborate on building and designing apps for in-car services and shape the future of the connected vehicle. Continental is also collaborating with IBM to jointly develop fully-connected mobile vehicle solutions for car manufacturers around the world. It also aims to solve the problem of outdated infotainment systems, with IBM developing a cloud platform enable companies to deliver all-new mobile services and software updates remotely, removing costly and inconvenient shop visits. With Linux able to operate across platforms and vehicles, it may soon be the standard for the connected care.

Linux is the ideal platform for big data—and that’s why the power behind IBM Watson lies in software running Linux on IBM Power Systems. IBM has put Watson to work helping hospitals and medical organizations by providing unparalleled insights into patient diagnoses and care. Most recently, the Mayo Clinic and IBM announced plans to pilot Watson to match patients more quickly with appropriate clinical trials. With diseases like cancer, where time is of the essence, the speed and accuracy that Watson allows physicians to develop an individualized treatment plan more efficiently, and deliver exactly the care that the patient needs. In 2012, IBM Watson formed another cancer-fighting partnership with Memorial Sloan-Kettering, one of the world’s top institutions for cancer treatment, to develop Interactive Care Insights for Oncology, a clinical decision-support application to doctors with improved access to current and comprehensive cancer data and practices. In both of these partnerships, Linux supports the processing power needed by Watson to deliver the timely results needed for these patients.

While it seems like Linux really is everywhere today, it is also providing the innovation platform for new open source projects—leading to even more possibilities. According to OpenStack, Linux underpins more than 90 percent of OpenStack deployments, including OpenStack Compute (Nova) and OpenStack Object Storage (Swift). And companies including IBM, Google and NVIDIA formed the OpenPOWER Foundation to are creating new innovations on the IBM Power System chip, creating even more possibilities for Linux deployments.

Linux is now all around us; it seems like every organization and workload can make use of its cross-architecture flexibility. And with so many emerging factors—the advent of big data, industry pressures and demand for open source innovations—Linux will only continue to rise.

Jim Wasko is the Director of IBM’s Linux Technology Center (LTC), where he is responsible for Linux development across IBM's broad product portfolio. His Linux involvement began in 2000 leading the team that provided enterprise-level Linux support—a major step by IBM at the time. He then held various leadership roles in Linux development in the LTC during the mid-2000s. With Linux being the foundation for cloud computing, he next spent three years as the Program Director for Cloud Computing development in IBM's Systems and Technology group, helping create IBM's public and private cloud offerings. In 2010, Jim returned to lead the LTC in his current role as Director, and in 2012, the LTC mission was expanded to include OpenStack and Hadoop open source development.



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