South East Europe

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November 6-7, 2018


Opening sessions

9:00 - 10:00 Registration and coffee at Festivalna dvorana
10.00- 10.30 Opening speech: Let's Put Smart to Work (PDF, 3.7 MB)
Michael Paier, IBM SEE General Manager
10.30 - 11.00 Getting into the mind of a cybercriminal - Etay Maor, Executive Security Advisor at IBM Security
11.00-11.30 IBM Research Science Slam: Unveiling innovation from IBM researchers from the region

Dorothea W. Wiesmann, Department Head, Cognitive Computing & Industry Solutions, IBM Research Laboratory

Maria Irina Nicolae, Machine Learning Researcher, IBM Research Lab Dublin
Adi Botea, Research Staff Member, IBM Research Lab Dublin
Itzhack Goldberg, Certified XiV administrator and Technical Advisor, IBM Research Lab Haifa
11.30- 12.00 Think Keynote - Tanmay Bakshi, Algorithmist, Neural Network Architect, Author


12:00 - 14:00 Lunch at Rikli Balance Hotel

think Campuses

“Race for the modern infrastructure”

14:00 - 14:20
Hidden heroes: How IBM helps Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team win races
Dušan Lukič, Formula 1 TV commentator & Avto Magazin Chief editor

14:20 - 14:50
Modernize your storage (PDF, 2.3 MB)
Kurt Bilderback, Global Vice President, Software Defined Storage, IBM Corporation

14:50 - 15:20
Does quantum computing matter to my business yet?
Ram Dusic Hren, Solution IT Architect And IBM Q Ambassador

15:20 - 15:50
Let’s unveil all the mysteries of AI, ML and Deep Learning
Costas Bekas , Distinguished RSM & Manager, Foundations of Cognitive Solutions, IBM Research

15:50 - 16:10
AI experiment: Does it really work?
Ivo Gomilsek, Senior Infrastructure Architect

16:10 - 17:00
OUR RACE WINNERS: customer references

Evening reception

19:00 - 23:00 Dinner and networking reception at Toplice Hotel


9:00 - 9:10 Introduction to Day Two
9:10 - 9:40 AI for Next Generation Healthcare - Jianying Hu, Ph.D., IBM Fellow, Global Science Leader, AI for Healthcare, IBM Research
9:40 - 10:00 A global and regional outlook into the minds of the CxOs (Revealing the findings of IBM C-suite Study and IDC Study in South East Europe) (PDF, 450 KB)
Katie Axam, CMO, IBM Central and Eastern Europe
10:00 - 11:30 CxO Challenges Club
11:30 - 12:00 IBM SEE GM’s closing thoughts


12:00 - 14:00 Lunch at Rikli Balance Hotel

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Dorothea W. Wiesmann

Department Head, Cognitive Computing & Industry Solutions, IBM Research Laboratory

Dorothea Wiesmann is leading the Cognitive Computing and Industry Solutions department at the IBM Research – Zurich Lab. Prior to this, she managed both the Services Analytics and the IoT groups, leading the global Cognitive Solutioning Designer project.
In this function she managed research projects focused on improving the quality and efficiency of IT operation as well as IT and non-IT asset management.
In particular, her team contributed to the cognitive assets in the

Core to the solutions designed and developed in her team are ontology-guided knowledge extraction, an advanced machine-learning blending engineering and statistical model, and cognitive assistance evolving into cognitive automation.
Prior to this role, Dorothea served as the Technical Assistant to the Director of the IBM Research – Zurich Lab and as the Strategy Consultant for the systems management and compliance research area.
Until 2008, she conducted research in novel thermo-mechanical data storage concepts for ultrahigh storage densities and in planar waveguide technology for optical communication. Her research focus in earlier projects was on the demonstration of technology readiness and subsequent technology transfer with a keen interest on commercial success factors for technology projects.
Dorothea Wiesmann holds an MBA degree (Henley Management College, UK, 2011) and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (2000). Dr. Wiesmann has authored and coauthored more than 70 peer-reviewed conference and journal publications and serves regularly as a journal reviewer.
Dr. Wiesmann is a member of the IEEE and has received an IBM Corporate Recognition Award and three IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Awards.

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.

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.

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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.

Kurt Bilderback

Global Vice President, Software Defined Storage, IBM Corporation

Kurt Bilderback is the Global Vice President of Sales for IBM's Software Defined Storage and Infrastructure Solutions. In this role, Kurt is responsible for a $1B business and over 450 sales and technical sales resources responsible for bringing solutions to clients that help them drive additional value and return on investment of their current data centers while transforming those data centers to leverage hybrid cloud technologies and new application development for the API Economy.

Sashko Lazov

IT manager, Activtrades

Sashko is a technology expert with more than 10 years of experience in the business. He is certified MCITP - Enterprise and Virtualization administrator and before joining to Activtrades focuses more on improvements in a more global scale and becomes certified in ITIL. His journey in Activtrades started in 2015 and since then manages the IT team of the company. Sashko is responsible for all things IT related like local support, IT infrastructure, IT procurement, Security etc.

Milos Milovanovic

COO, Blinking

Miloš Milovanović, PhD is an entrepreneur and associate professor at the University of Belgrade. He is a multiple award winning scientist in the area of information technology. Miloš authored more than 80 highly regarded journal and conference papers and is a long-standing member of ACM and IEEE Society. He authored one of the most innovative biometric human gait recognition systems based on structured lighting.

Currently, he is a Head of Innovation center for information and communication technology development at the University of Belgrade.

Miloš is also a founder and CEO of ProudSource IT, a successful cutting edge software development company, co-founder and COO of Blinking company and co-author of Blinking system, one of the first DID (digital ID) solutions on the blockchain which also features GDPR-ready storage and enterprise KYC system.

Zoltán Németh

Senior Engineering Manager at IBM Cloud Video (Ustream)

I am a 40-year-old married geek, father of two. Worked on infrastructure, backend, frontend and engineering management. Spent the last 8 years at Ustream which became IBM Watson Media / IBM Budapest Lab in 2016, where I am responsible for streaming technology, security & compliance, advocating the Lab and our products.

Branko Tadic

IBM Cloud Technical Sales Manager, South East Europe at IBM

Regional Technical Manager and Certified Level 2 IBM Sales Expert (held by less than 5% of top sellers in IBM, attained through rigorous certification process requiring proven 5+ years of sales performance excellence, sales leadership competence, strict peer assessment, and relevant sales, industry and technical background/education), leader of high-profile IBM Cloud Tech Sales team in South East Europe, acting as business consultant and solution sales executive for Cloud integration, business process automation and new workloads (blockchain, AI, machine learning, cognitive etc) portfolios in IBM. Business developer for Cloud, Analytics, Mobile and Security, senior Maximo Service and Asset Management (EAM) consultant with strong hands-on skills and 15+ yrs experience in high-value ITSM/EAM enterprise consulting, from design and development to leadership and management.

Highly focused on business development and sales of IBM Cloud portfolio, including wide portfolio of cognitive Watson services, Big Data, AI and predictive analytics services, API integration and security services, data platforms, cloud-native application design and DevOps, scaleable cloud runtime platforms incl. containers, blockchain, internet of Things platform, Design Thinking methodology and prototyping and industry specific solutioning.

Very much engaged in IBM initiatives around Internet of Things ( IoT ), with both theoretical knowledge and demonstrated practical engagement experience on projects revolving around industry automation and HSE.

Specialties: Complex enterprise solution sales for IBM Bluemix, SaaS, IBM Integration portfolio (Websphere stack), IBM Business Process Management portfolio (BPM), IT Service Management, Cloud, Automation, Analytics, Mobility, Monitoring, Virtualization Management, Security, Asset Management, Process Management.IBM Maximo Consulting, Internet of Things, Smarter Infrastructure, Maximo , J2EE, BPEL, SOA, System Integration, ITIL v3, Service Desk.

Goran Golubović

General Manager, NLB d.d.

Banking and IT expert, successful manager with 20 years of professional experience, specialized for Data Management.

Katie Axam

CMO, IBM Central and Eastern Europe

Katie is the CMO for IBM Central & Eastern Europe. This region covers around 29 countries. She is responsible for overseeing the planning, development and execution of IBM’s marketing initiatives and is passionate about creating a data driven approach to deliver a client centric message, combining digital practices with personal experiences for IBM’s clients.
Katie is a senior marketing professional with 20+ years of experience from Australia. She has strong leadership and strategic planning skills spanning Asia Pacific, Middle East Africa, Latin America and Central Eastern Europe.

With almost 20 years at IBM she has held many regional and country based Marketing positions, working with the leaders of many of IBM’s business units. Prior to her current role she worked in Shanghai, China managing Geo Expansion marketing and communication which included; branch openings (record number of 155 in 2012) integrating market intelligence, market conditioning, branding, internal / external communications, workforce enablement, advertising, demand generation and corporate citizenship to maximise IBM’s presence in the city and drive balanced and profitable growth across all Geo Expansion branch offices. Her qualifications include Master of Commerce (Advanced Specialization in Marketing) and Bachelor of Commerce (International Business and Management). In 2014, she moved with her family to Prague, Czech Republic.

Borut Olenik

Head of BI department in Zavarovalnica Triglav, d.d.

Borut Olenik as a head of BI department in Zavarovalnica Triglav, d.d., is responsible for leading the design and maintenance of BI. Throughout many successful projects in his career, he has gained knowledge and experience in all aspects of business intelligence. He is very passionate about the power of data and analytics and how to deliver information to end users. He believes strongly that delivering the right data, at the right time to the right people lead to correct decisions.

Zoran Kranjec

Business Development Executive, IBM Central and Eastern Europe

Zoran Kranjec is responsible for industry solutions business development in IBM CEE Industry sector working mostly with Chemicals & Petroleum Clients. He is a subject matter expert for the asset intensive industries where IBM is offering complex integrations of industry solutions. In his previous IBM roles Zoran was Project Manager of the largest SAP implementation project in SEE Region, he was Enterprise Applications Manager at IBM Croatia, then Asset Management Solutions Leader for IBM CEE and the latest Business Development Executive for IBM CEE Solutions Unit. He is business professional Certified PMP Project Manager, Certified PRINCE2 Project Manager, Certified IBM Power Systems IT Specialist and Certified in ITIL Service Management. Zoran holds Master of Science degree in Geology from the University of Zagreb.

Jasmina Magdić

Project Manager at IBM GBS

Jasmina Magdić, M.Sc., PMP, has 15+ years of relevant IT experience, primarily in telco industry, banking and insurance. Her main area of expertise is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) business strategy, but during the last year she is also increasingly interested in Robotic Process Automation (RPA). She was involved in number of BSS/OSS projects, first as a software developer/system integrator/solution architect, and then, for the last eleven years, as a project manager. She is part of IBM Croatia GBS team.

Mladen Jovanovski

zAnalytics Client Technical Specialist at IBM Hybrid Cloud SEE

Mladen Jovanovski is zAnalytics Client Technical Specialist at IBM Hybrid Cloud SEE. He is a long time passionate data enthusiast with 30+ years of experience in integrating, storing and processing data with various technologies, from COBOL and hierarchical databases in 1980s, to Apache Spark and Machine Learning nowadays. He is also a proud Linux user since 1997, for all his personal and professional needs, with huge experience in Enterprise Linux deployments.

Lada Banić

Senior consultant - Business Analytics, Poslovna Inteligencija

Lada Banić ( is senior consultant in BA department and has experience on innovative projects that consolidate data mining/machine learning, text mining and Big Data technologies. Except on data mining/machine learning project she has been working on projects regarding DWH development and reporting. She has great experience in business process management, business process development and reengineering.

Ram Dusic Hren

Solution IT Architect And IBM Q Ambassador

Ram holds a Masters degree in Physics. Prior to joining IBM, he has worked in a research institute on Scanning Tunneling Microscopy, a technique that uses subtle quantum effects for imaging and manipulating individual atoms. This technique was actually invented by two IBM fellows. So, together with having a computer-like name (RAM), it seems it was meant for him to join IBM. And he did so in the beginning of 2016. He then joined the IBM Q Ambassador team and is now evangelizing and educating about Quantum Computing in Central Eastern Europe. Speaking about the matter is something he enjoys a lot and strives to bring an otherwise complex topic closer to the audience.

Sanja Primorac Brkic

Head of IT, UniCredit Bank d.d. Mostar

Dragan Pleskonjic

Senior Director Application Security, IGT

Dragan Pleskonjić is Senior Director Application Security at international company IGT (previously GTECH). In his current role, he directs, coordinates and oversees application security efforts on global organization level. Dragan is a well-known expert and influential strategic thinker in the area of information security, privacy, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). He is an experienced leader and has held top positions at international companies, working with clients and partners from various sectors worldwide, including: finance and banking, technology, telecommunications, services, lotteries, gaming, and government. He possesses rich experience in creating and managing start-ups, new businesses development, proven leadership and talent for creation, management and organization of successful teams. Initiated and has held leading positions in a number of industry projects, as well as in research and development projects. Dragan is an adjunct professor for various cybersecurity and computer science courses. He is author of ten books so far, including well-known university textbooks on topics such as cybersecurity, operating systems, and software. Dragan is inventor with set of patents granted by USPTO and also CIPO and EPO patent offices. He published more than sixty scientific and technical papers at conferences and journals. His current research and development focus is intelligent predictive security (INPRESEC), exploring the paradigm shift in information security and privacy with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). For more information, please visit his personal website at