It was more than just a visit for Dr. Alfred Steinher, Academic Director, Sacred Heart University, Luxembourg, when he accompanied five students of the 2016 USA-Luxembourg Connections Summer Enrichment Program for the corporate visit of the Thomas J. Watson Research Center at IBM Headquarters in Yorktown.
On July 22 we visited this world famous IBM research center, set up in the 1960s by T.J Watson, the founder of IBM, as part of the two-week study program for students from Luxembourg at the main University campus in Fairfield, CT. Our visit lasted from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The IBM campus extends over the rolling hills of Yorktown surrounded by prime estates for executives of the wider New York area. It is a dream location, spacious, green, peaceful. We were graciously hosted by two Luxembourgers: Laurent Schares and Michel Hack. Laurent studied in Paris before doing his Ph.D. in physics at MIT. Michel got his Ph.D. from the Swiss Technical University in Zurich and both happily have been ever since with IBM in Yorktown. The center is a playground for Nobel Laureates and those working toward it. Despite the relaxed style, thousands of patents are being generated here. It was home of the most powerful computer in the world until IBM was overtaken by a Chinese super computer. The research activity of the center is surprisingly diverse and we got a good taste of that: we had presentations on blockchain technology and security, on quantum computing, on weather forecasts at the micro level (per square mile) and we could participate in a Jeopardy game (playing against a program developed by IBM) that has been a big success on US television. What a day!