Keynote - Rick HullRick Hull
IBM Research, Yorktown Heights, NY

Location: Othon Palace Hotel – Copacabana A
Time: Wednesday , 21 September 2016, 9:00 – 10:30
Session Chair: Peter Loos


If we are to believe the technology hype cycle, we are entering a new era of “cognitive computing”, enabled by dramatic advances in natural language processing (NLP) , machine learning, and artificial intelligence more broadly. These advances, combined with evolutionary progress over recent years in areas such as knowledge representation and extraction, automated planning, software-as-a-service, user experience technologies, and crowd-sourcing, have the potential to transform many industries. How will these technologies impact Business Processes (BPs), and more broadly, the entire ecosystem that surrounds BPs in enterprise environments?

This technology shift leads us to re-imagine the traditional notion of a process in both front- and back-office scenarios, opening a new family of opportunities for transforming the BP ecosystem, and indeed, the very ways that business operations are conducted. We need to rethink how processes are defined, learned, enabled, enacted and automated, and we can challenge the traditional design-deploy-monitor-improve cycle of BPM. The talk will focus on two primary areas of transformation. First, the very shape of “Knowledge-intensive Processes (KiP’s)” will transform because of both (a) automated capabilities to ingest, absorb, reason about and apply vast amounts of human knowledge currently locked into text (and other) kinds of documents, and (b) new styles of human-human and human-machine collaborations that take into account goals, actor intentions, and the knowledge that is being worked on. Second, cognitive computing will enable a new generation of capabilities for automatic learning and enactment of a broad variety of BPs. These range from (i) back-office support processes that are still highly manual, to (ii) project-management-intensive processes and KiPs (often conducted through conversations among people), and finally to (iii) highly open-ended activities that are supporting strategic, design- and decision-centric processes. There are early initiatives in both academia and industry to develop abstractions, approaches and systems that embody aspects of the transformation enabled by always-on cognitive computing. But a fundamental understanding of this shift will require a new research framing of the business process ecosystem.

This talk is based on joint work with Hamid Motahari from the IBM Almaden Research Center.


Rick Hull is a Senior Research Scientist at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, a position he took in May, 2008. Hull has broad research and innovation interests in the areas of data and information management, workflow and business processes, web and converged services, and more recently, the application of BPM paradigms to Big Data analytics to enable large-scale repeatability, and the automation of highly manual business processes. Between 2008 and 2013 Hull led a team at IBM Research working on Business Artifacts and data-centric business process management. This work provided foundations for both the recent OMG Case Management Model and Notation (CMMN) standard and the IBM Case Management product. Prior to joining IBM Research, Hull spent 12 years at Bell Labs Research, a division of Lucent (then Alcatel-Lucent, and now Nokia); before that he was a professor of Computer Science at the University of Southern California. While at Bell Labs, Hull was instrumental in developing and transferring new technologies into Alcatel-Lucent’s product line, including products for data integration and high-speed rules processing. Over the years, Hull’s research has been supported in part by grants from NSF, DARPA, and AT&T. Hull is co-author of the book “Foundations of Databases” (Addison-Wesley, 1996); has published over 150 refereed articles in journals, conferences and books; and holds 12 U.S. patents. Hull was named Bell Labs Fellow in 2005 and ACM Fellow in 2007. He received a Corporate Award from IBM in 2015 for his contributions in the area of Case Management, and also an “Outstanding Accomplishment” from IBM Research for “Fundamental Contributions to Science or Technology”.