2014 Spencer C. Schantz Distinguished Lecture Series

brendadietrich Brenda Dietrich,
IBM Fellow and VP,
IBM Watson Group

Public Lecture - Thursday, April 17, 2014
3:30pm Lewis Laboratory, Room 270

Title: Cognitive Computing: Behind and Beyond Jeopardy!


In 2011 a computer named Watson demonstrated super human question answering ability by defeating two Jeopardy! grand champions marking the beginning of a new era of computing. Rather than being programmed to execute specific tasks, cognitive computing systems learn and interact naturally with people to extend what neither humans or machines could do on their own. This talk will discuss both the creation of the first Watson computer and the near term opportunities for cognitive computing.

Technical Talk - Wednesday, April 16, 2014
4:00pm Mohler Laboratory, Room 451

Business Analytics: Making Operations Research Ubiquitous


Big Data and Analytics have captured the attention of the business world,
with each term being assigned various definitions and attributes. This talk
will address the domain from an Operations Research perspective. The
motivation and objectives of business users of analytics will be explored.
Trends in data availability will be discussed, along with some examples of
nascent business models arising in a data economy. The role of algorithms
and computing in distilling patterns, trends and recommendations from
the data will be discussed, along with the growing role for OR experts in the
business of extracting value from data.


Brenda Dietrich is an IBM Fellow and Vice President. She joined IBM in 1984 and has worked in the area now called analytics for her entire career. Her early work involved applying mathematical models to improve the performance of IBM
manufacturing lines.

During her career, she has worked with almost every IBM business unit and applied analytics to numerous IBM decision processes. For over a decade she led the Mathematical Sciences function in the IBM Research division where she was responsible for both basic research on computational mathematics and for the development of novel applications of mathematics for both IBM and its clients.

In addition to her work within IBM, she has been the president of INFORMS, (Operations Research and Management Sciences), is an INFORMS Fellow, and has received multiple service awards. She has served on the Board of Trustees of SIAM and on several university advisory boards. She holds more than a dozen patents, has co-authored numerous publications, and frequently speaks on analytics. She holds a BS in Mathematics from University of North Carolina, and an MS and
Ph.D. in OR/IE from Cornell University. Her personal research includes
manufacturing scheduling, services resource management, transportation
logistics, integer programming, and combinatorial duality. She currently
leads the emerging technologies team in the IBM Watson group.

About Spencer C. Schantz

This lecture series is endowed in the name of the late Spencer C. Schantz, who graduated from Lehigh in 1955 with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering. Following progressive responsibilities with several electrical manufacturing companies, in 1969 he founded U.S. Controls Corporation and became its first CEO and President. The Spencer C. Schantz Distinguished Lecture Series was established by his wife Jerelyn as a valuable educational experience for faculty, students and friends of Lehigh’s Industrial and Systems Engineering department.

Click here for an archive of past events in this series