Guruduth S. Banavar  Guruduth S. Banavar photo       

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Chief Science Officer, Cognitive Computing
Vice President, IBM Research

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Dr. Guru Banavar is vice president and chief science officer for cognitive computing at IBM. He is responsible for advancing the next generation of cognitive technologies and solutions with IBM's global scientific ecosystem, including academia, government agencies and other partners.  Guru leads the Cognitive Horizons Network, a set of research collaborations with leading institutions.

Most recently, Guru led the team responsible for creating new AI technologies and systems in the family of IBM Watson, designed to augment human expertise in all industries, from healthcare to financial services to education.  He and his team build a range of cognitive systems that learn from massive amounts of data, reason towards specific goals, and interact naturally with people to perform a variety of tasks – from answering questions conversationally to extracting knowledge for discovering insights to evaluating options for difficult decisions.

Guru has worked across IBM's businesses to co-innovate with clients, by applying advanced technologies to solve tough business problems in multiple industries. As CTO of IBM’s Global Public Sector business, Guru focused on the Smarter Cities initiative, and led strategic engagements around the globe to improve public safety, transportation, and other city services that make cities more livable and sustainable. An example of his work is the City Operations Center in Rio de Janeiro, which coordinates day-to-day as well as emergency operations in support of planning and service management across thirty agencies within that city.

Guru’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, National Public Radio, and other international media. He served on NY Governor Cuomo’s commission for improving New York State’s resilience to natural disasters after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.  Guru is an elected member of the IBM Academy of Technology, and has served on the boards of IBM’s Industry Academy and those of academic institutions.

Earlier, Guru was the Director of IBM Research in India, which he helped establish as a pre-eminent center for Services Research and Mobile Computing. There, he and his team received a National Innovation Award by the President of India in 2009 for the Spoken Web project. Guru has published his research extensively and holds more than 25 US patents. His early work was on distributed systems and programming models at IBM’s TJ Watson Research Center in New York, which he joined in 1995 after his PhD in Computer Science.