IBM - Think South East Europe - Slovenija

meets Humanity

November 6-7, 2018
Bled, Slovenia

Think South East Europe is a flagship IBM event that gathers C-level executives from across South East Europe and different industries in one place to discuss, network and experience a new world of business with AI, cloud, data and security.


At Think South East Europe, we will outline global and regional client engagements, partnerships, technology breakthroughs and developer tools that underscore how IBM and its clients are changing the way the world works by building smarter businesses.

Grab the opportunity to connect and network with 400+ peers from South East Europe and listen to thought leaders as they share what’s next for your business, your industry and your whole world.

Together, we'll explore what makes you think.

Join us in Bled, Slovenia and let's think together.

IDC Study: Perception and Use of Cloud Computing & Artificial Intelligence in the Adriatic Region

Companies in the Adriatic region are increasingly embracing cloud technologies – private cloud solutions prevail, however almost half of surveyed companies have chosen hybrid multi-cloud solutions. Download the comprehensive IDC Study, sponsored by IBM.

The Venue

Rikli Balance Hotel****S
Cankarjeva 4, Bled, Slovenia


+386 4 579 17 00

The Rikli Balance Hotel - situated above Lake Bled and offering the best views of the lake -transposes traditional handicrafts and exceptional natural features of Bled into the hotel interior. The hotel with the largest conference premises in Bled is returning to nature and sustainability, as well as the tradition, culture, and history of the local area. In the 19th century, Swiss natural healer Arnold Rikli discovered health and wellness in Bled, which are facilitated by Bled’s beneficial micro-climate (clean mountain air, stunning nature, and favourable climate with lots of sunny days). A fully renovated hotel, which has opened its doors in March 2018, is reviving Rikli’s concept of healing and is becoming a space full of new attractions, where the soothing effects of nature will help its guests to relax and fully recharge.

Author: Franci Ferjan, Source:

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How to reach Bled?

Arriving by car: Bled is 50 km away from Ljubljana. The highway E61 between Ljubljana and Villach passes about 5-6 km from the lake. From the highway take exit nr. 3 towards Lesce / Bled. Do not forget that you need a vignette to drive on the highway in Slovenia, if you wish to avoid paying for the vignette you can also travel on country roads to the lake.

Arriving by plane: The nearest airport, the Jože Pučnik International Airport Ljubljana (Brnik), is located 36 km from Bled. From the airport, you can reach Bled with a taxi or public transport.

Adi Botea

Research Scientist at IBM Research, Ireland

Adi Botea is a research scientist at IBM Research, Ireland. His research has had impact in IBM, ranging from Docit, for multi-modal journey planning, to AI for dialogue systems, deployed in the Cognitive Talent Platform and Watson Career Coach.
He has obtained a PhD degree in computer science at the University of Alberta, Canada, in 2006, after BSc and MSc degrees at the University of Bucharest, Romania. His interests include AI research, such as planning, heuristic search, automated dialogue systems, pathfinding, journey planning, and multi-agent path planning. Adi has co-authored more than 70 peer-reviewed publications, and more than 20 IBM patent applications. He has received a best paper award in the International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling, ICAPS 2009. Adi has served in the Editorial Board of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research (JAIR) and has chaired the Symposium on Combinatorial Search, SoCS 2016. He has served as a Programme Committee member in PIC top quality AI conferences, such as IJCAI, AAAI and ICAPS, and as a Senior Programme Committee member in IJCAI. Adi is the author of Copa, an optimal pathfinding system with an outstanding speed performance in the Grid-based Path Planning competition GPPC-2012. He also co-authored SRC, the fastest optimal solver in GPPC 2014.

Michael Paier

General Manager, IBM South East Europe

Michael Paier is responsible for IBM’s business in South East Europe, a region covering more than 10 countries, including Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. Michael was named in this position in 2011. Prior to that he was leading IBM’s Business Partner Organization for Central and Eastern Europe. From 2001 onwards he has held a number of management and executive positions, developing business and channel sales in IBM across Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Tanmay Bakshi

Algorithmist, Neural Network Architect, Author

At the age of 14, he had already spoken in front of more than 150,000 people live world-wide about programming and its value for society. His passion for programming began when he started coding at the age of five. Today, he builds applications engineered to augment human capabilities.

Etay Maor

Executive security advisor at IBM Security

Etay is an executive security advisor at IBM Security, where he leads security and fraud fighting awareness and research. A security evangelist, Etay regularly presents at industry events and academic master classes as well as volunteer for educational security awareness programs.
Previously, Etay was the Head of RSA’s Cyber Threats Research Labs where he managed malware research and intelligence teams and was part of cutting edge security research.
Etay holds a BA in Computer Science and a MA in Counter Terrorism and Cyber Terrorism, he was a teaching assistant at an Introduction to Cyber Security course and contributed to the ICT (International Institute for Counterterrorism) in cybersecurity and cyberterrorism topics.
Sample of conferences where Etay presented:2015 Infosec World, 2014 Singapore GovWare, 2014 ISCD Hungary, 2014 RSA Asia, 2014 Disruptive Innovation in Security Technology (URJC Summer University Course, Madrid) 2014 RSA USA, 2014 DCOI (Defensive Cyberspace Operations & Intelligence), 2014 IBM Pulse, 2014 IBM Impact, 2013 RSA Europe, 2013 UK Payment Council, 2013 INSS (Institute for National Security Studies) 2012 APWG, 2012 Technion TCE, 2011 FST Singapore, 2010 ITWeb (S.Africa) and many more.

Dr. Alessandro Curioni

IBM Fellow, Vice President of Europe and director of the IBM Research lab in Zurich

Dr. Alessandro Curioni is an IBM Fellow, vice president of Europe and director of the IBM Research lab in Zurich, Switzerland. In addition to leading the IBM Research activities in Europe, he is also responsible for the global research in IoT and Security.
Dr. Curioni is a world recognized leader in the area of high performance computing and computational science where his innovative thinking and seminal contributions have helped solve some of the most complex scientific and technological problems in healthcare, aerospace, consumer goods and electronics. He was a member of the winning team recognized with the prestigious Gordon Bell Prize in 2013 and 2015. Dr. Curioni received his undergraduate degree in Theoretical Chemistry and his PhD from Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy. He started at IBM Research - Zurich as a PhD student in 1993 before officially joining as a research staff member in 1998. His most recent position has been the head of the Cognitive Computing and Computational Sciences department.
In 2017 he was named a member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences.

Neil Sondhi

EMEA/RCIS Storage Technical Advisory and Solution Assurance / ESCC Client Care Project Office

Neil started his career in the telecommunication industry - He was highly impressed by the huge possibilities of wireless technology and the potentials of mobile telephones. He then transitioned into the semi-conductor industry, where he was deeply involved in processor design and manufacturing facility. At that time wifi technology was at its infant stage. He worked with the R&D folks in developing the Metrology equipment's. He joint IBM early in 2006 and was involved in cognitive field which triggered his adrenaline to an all-time high - He with Itzhack Goldberg have been researching since then and have been awarded several patents in this field.
Since 2008 he is involved in the Global Advisory team.

Itzhack Goldberg

Storage Technical Advisor, IBM

Itzhack is an IBM employee since 1999 and worked for IBM even before as a contractor. Most of his career he was a developer in projects such as AIX, LVM/FS and DS6K. Itzhack is a prolific inventor with over 160 patents in various fields such as storage, security. Over 80 patents are granted. In the last 9 years Itzhack is a storage Technical Advisor. In that capacity he invented number of high value patents that improved IBM XIV/A9K product line.

Anca-Nicoleta Ciubotaru

Researcher, IBM Zurich Research Laboratory

Anca-Nicoleta Ciubotaru has received her Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering in 2016 from Technical University of Iasi, Romania. She joined the Cognitive Computing and Industry Solutions department at IBM Research Zurich as an intern in July 2016. In September 2017 she started her PhD under the supervision of dr. Maria Gabrani from IBM Research Zurich and prof. Jean-Philippe Thiran from EPFL. Her main interests are Computer Vision, Deep Learning and Distributed Computing.

Irina Nicolae

Research scientist in machine learning

Irina is part of the AI & Machine Learning team of IBM Research Ireland. Her main interests include security for AI models and learning representations for complex data. She received her PhD from University of Saint-Etienne, France, for a research project on similarity learning with theoretical guarantees for numerical and temporal data. Previously, she graduated from Politehnica University of Bucharest in Computer Science in 2011, and from ENSIMAG in Information Systems in 2013.

Eric Herzog

Chief Marketing Officer, Vice President, Worldwide Storage Channels IBM Storage Systems and Software Defined Infrastructure

Eric’s responsibilities include worldwide product marketing and management for IBM's award-winning family of storage solutions, software defined storage, integrated infrastructure, and software defined computing, as well as responsibility for global storage channels. Herzog has over 32 years of product management, marketing, business development, alliances, sales, and channels experience in the storage software, storage systems, and storage solutions markets, managing all aspects of marketing, product management, sales, alliances, channels, and business development in both Fortune 500 and start-up storage companies.
Prior to joining IBM, Herzog was Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President of Alliances for allflash storage provider Violin Memory. Herzog was also Senior Vice President of Product Management and Product Marketing for EMC’s Enterprise & Mid-range Systems Division, where held global responsibility for product management, product marketing, evangelism, solutions marketing, communications, and technical marketing with a P&L over $10B. Before joining EMC, he was vice president of marketing and sales at Tarmin Technologies. Herzog has also held vice president business line management and vice president of marketing positions at IBM's Storage Technology Division, where he had P&L responsibility for the over $300M OEM RAID and storage subsystems business, and Maxtor (acquired by Seagate). Herzog has held vice president positions in marketing, sales, operations, and acting-CFO roles at Asempra (acquired by BakBone Software), ArioData Networks (acquired by Xyratex), Topio (acquired by Network Appliance), Zambeel, and Streamlogic.
Herzog holds a B.A. degree in history from the University of California, Davis, where he graduated cum laude, studied towards a M.A. degree in Chinese history, and was a member of the Phi Alpha Theta honor society.

Jianying Hu (Ph.D.)

IBM Fellow; Global Science Leader, AI for Healthcare; and Program Director of the Center for Computational Health at IBM Research

Jianying Hu (Ph.D.) is IBM Fellow; Global Science Leader, AI for Healthcare; and Program Director of the Center for Computational Health at IBM Research. Prior to joining IBM in 2003 she was with Bell Labs at Murray Hill, New Jersey. Dr. Hu has conducted and led extensive research in machine learning, data mining, statistical pattern recognition, and signal processing, with applications to healthcare analytics and medical informatics, business analytics, and multimedia content analysis. Her recent focus has been on leading research efforts to develop advanced computational methods for deriving data-driven insights from real world healthcare data to facilitate learning health systems. Dr. Hu served as Chair of the Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDDM) Working Group of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) from 2014 to 2016. She has published over 120 peer reviewed scientific papers and holds 31 patents. She has served as Associate Editor for the journals IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, Pattern Recognition, and International Journal for Document Analysis and Recognition. Dr. Hu currently serves on the Editorial Board of the journal JAMIA Open, Advisory Board of the Journal of Healthcare Informatics Research, the Computational Science Advisory Board of Michael J. Fox Foundation, the Industry Advisory Board of NJIT, and the Western Pennsylvania HIT Advisory Board. Dr. Hu is a fellow of IEEE, a fellow of the International Association of Pattern Recognition, and an overseas fellow of Royal Society of Medicine. She received the Asian American Engineer of the Year Award in 2013.

Book your room

Check out the below pages and book* your room today:

*These are external web pages. The hotels are fully responsible for room booking, and any changes or cancellations remain as per the hotel policy. Please note that IBM will not monitor hotel booking process.

Jamie M. Thomas

General Manager, Strategy & Development IBM Systems

Jamie Thomas is the General Manager for Strategy & Development, IBM Systems. Ms. Thomas is responsible for Strategy, Development and Client Experience for IBM’s POWER, Mainframe and Storage Offerings. In this role, she is responsible for setting and executing the innovation plans required to support clients worldwide. In addition, Ms. Thomas owns IBM’s WW Supply Chain Operations supporting all manufacturing.

Recently she was General Manager of Storage, and set the strategic direction of storage solutions focused on traditional data center and cloud deployment models. She played a central role in establishing IBM’s software defined storage Spectrum brand and enabling the growth of the Flash storage business.

During her tenure at IBM, Ms. Thomas has held various product development and brand leadership roles. Prior Ms. Thomas was the Vice President of IBM Tivoli Strategy and Development where she focused on strategic solutions in support of Internet of Things and Cloud. From 2007 to 2009, she was the Vice President of Rational Development and Client Support responsible for worldwide development and support of the IBM Rational Software Brand, spanning enterprise and complex systems solutions. She served as Vice President of WebSphere Server Development, responsible for the expansion of the WebSphere Java business from 2004 to 2006.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in computer science from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Costas Bekas, PhD

Distinguished Research Staff member with IBM Research and manager of Foundations of Cognitive Solutions at IBM Research-Zurich

Costas Bekas, PhD, is a Distinguished Research Staff member with IBM Research and manager of Foundations of Cognitive Solutions at IBM Research-Zurich. He received B. Eng., Msc and PhD diplomas, all from the Computer Engineering & Informatics Department, University of Patras, Greece, in 1998, 2001 and 2003 respectively. Between 2003-2005, he worked as a postdoctoral associate with prof. Yousef Saad at the Computer Science & Engineering Department, University of Minnesota, USA. He has been with IBM since September 2005. Costas’s main research interests span HPC, massive scale analytics and cognitive computing, energy aware algorithms and architectures. Costas is a recipient of the PRACE 2012 award and the ACM Gordon Bell 2013 and 2015 prizes.