Chief Scientist, IBM Research Africa

In May 2016 I became the chief scientist of IBM Research Africa. I am based in Nairobi, Kenya. We have a great group of scientists and engineers working in the areas of healthcare, inclusive financial services, public sector, Blockchain, and water & agriculture (in the Kenya Lab), and healthcare, smarter urban ecosystems and astronomy (in the South Africa Lab).

One exciting project I am leading involves the management of water and rangeland resources in the arid north of Kenya, an area populated by semi-nomadic pastoralists who herd cattle, sheep, goats and camels. These pastoralists live on the razor’s edge of existence and face extreme perils in drought years, such as the one we are currently experiencing.

Prior to coming to Africa I was one of the principle investigators at the Cognitive Environments Lab, or CEL, at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in New York. At that lab we try to bring immersive computing technologies to social environments. A special interest of mine was (and still is) creating technology that helps us engage with each other and with the world in a more meaningful way. Most of our technology today seems to do the opposite.
Prior to my work on cognitive environments I worked on a mobile robot for autonomously mapping, monitoring and managing the energy and thermal properties of a computer data center. I also worked on the strategy component of the IBM Joepardy-playing program known as Watson.

My academic interests are in the areas of discrete, combinatorial, and computational geometry. I am particularly attracted to simple to state problems in discrete geometry.