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Professional Life

Career Achievement
By USBE Online
Aug 28, 2013, 13:45

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Jason B. Ellis, Ph.D., research staff member, IBM T. J. Watson Research Center
One doesn’t have to look further than Jason B. Ellis’ reports, talks and position papers to understand that he operates with a global perspective. “Answers for Nigerian Farmers: A Mobile Phone Service for Nigerian Farmers” and “Using Virtual Interactions to Explore Leadership and Collaboration in Globally Distributed Teams” are just two of the long list of publications, technical reports, conference presentations and other works of which Ellis has been a contributor. Ellis is a member of the research staff at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., where he designs, implements and studies social software, including online communities, social visualization and grassroots team tools.

As the team lead of the “Social Computing for the Next Billions” project, Ellis sets team goals and aligns their work with IBM business as well as initiates and manages relationships with internal and external partners. He’s also conducted field work in rural Uganda and Rwanda. His field is described as the study of how people interact with technology and more importantly how technology can be better designed to enhance people’s lives and work and support their highest aspiration. Ellis was the project manager and technical lead of one project that resulted in a hybrid mobile phone, web and “big screen” application for homeless mothers and their case workers to support finding housing, jobs and other resources. Ellis is credited with the conception, design and implementation of several “novel technology solutions.”

A manager at IBM in social computing said Ellis is a “rare breed,” combining deep knowledge of computer science and engineering with solid skills in behavioral research and an “exquisitely” developed sense of design. Ellis, who holds five patents and has six patents pending, graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a doctorate in computer science from Georgia Institute of Technology. His thesis focused on social computing and educational technology to help young people learn about the civil rights era. He has mentored others in his field through internships at IBM as well as through professional organizations.

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