Rick Lawrence manages the Machine Learning Group in IBM Research at Yorktown Heights NY. He led the IBM sales productivity project selected as a Finalist in 2009 for the prestigious INFORMS Franz Edelman competition that recognizes the application of advanced analytics to solve challenging business problems. He currently leads an extensive research effort in the application of machine learning to characterize relevance, sentiment, influence, and evolving topics of discussion in social media including blogs and twitter. He is also co-leading a new research program within IBM that is exploring the integration of DeepQA systems (specifically the IBM Watson Jeopardy system) with sophisticated machine learning and pattern recognition algorithms. Rick received his undergraduate degree at Stanford and his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois.