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Steven Abrams
Distinguished Engineer and Director - Software Technology Research
Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY USA
      +1dash914dash945dash1935


I'm not usually a big fan of cliches, but:

Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.

That quote tells you two things about me.

Firstly, I recognize that I have one of the best jobs imaginable. I am leading a team of world-class researchers in IBM looking at a wide range of topics covering programming models, languages, and platforms, HPCC, parallel and distributed systems, and high performance engineering, as well as HCI, software engineering and governance. The team has an outstanding track record of having impact in the scientific world through publications, and impact in the industry through IBM's products and services. I'm proud of the team, and thrilled to come back to Research as the Director of Software Technology Reseach.

Secondly, I love the NY Yankees.. (In case you didn't get the reference from the above quote.

I have a fairly diverse background, having worked in areas such as computer music, robotics, computational geometry, and CAD/CAM and rapid prototyping tools (both for physical objects as well as software entities), and software engineering and architecture.

If you're interested in learning about how such a diverse journey is possible, read on.

I originally joined IBM in 1992 as a summer intern to develop 2-D and 3-D geometric processing algorithms and system architecture for a rapid prototyping system in the Manufacturing Research group, while pursuing my Ph.D. I then joined Stratasys, Inc., where we commercialized the rapid prototyping technology developed at IBM.

After finishing my Ph.D. (my PhD thesis Ph.D. was on sensor planning for robots in an active environment, and focused on multidimensional modeling and manipulation of computer vision constraints and the computation of 3-D swept volumes) , I then joined the Computer Music Center at IBM Research. There, I led the development of Music Sketcher, an interactive tool for experimenting, generating ideas, and exploring the power of new music technologies. The goal was to help people amplify their natural creativity. That led to an exploration of the concepts used by composers in their creative process, such as structure, shape, and tension and relaxation. That led to a joint project with the Berklee school of music called QSketcher, a tool that used these higher-level abstractions in ways that enhance the composer’s ability to create music.

I then joined the Software Technology department of IBM Research managing the “Business Application Modeling” group. With that team, we developed tools that help people describe, architect, visualize, validate, and develop enterprise applications more easily and naturally than traditional tools. Surprisingly, the concepts explored in the Computer Music center played an interesting role in some of our work in this area, particularly the Architects' Workbench.

I then wanted a taste of life in product land, so I joined IBM's Rational brand in Software Group, working in the Chief Technology Office. As a member of the CTO team, I helped to create the Jazz Integration Architecture and launch the Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration initiative, an industry-wide initiative to greatly simplify integration across the software delivery lifecycle by openly and collaboratively defining a RESTful integration architecture. I eventuall became Rational's Chief Architect for Cloud Computing, defining Rational's technical strategy around Cloud Computing and DevOps.

After five enjoyable and productive years in Rational, I couldn't resist the opportunity to come back to Research.