Dr. John E. Kelly III is senior vice president and director of IBM Research. In this position he leads IBM's global research efforts with approximately 3,000 scientists and technical employees across 12 laboratories in 10 countries, and helps guide IBM’s overall technical strategy.
Dr. Kelly’s top priorities as the leader of IBM Research are to stimulate innovation in key areas of information technology, and quickly bring those innovations into the marketplace to sustain and grow IBM’s existing business; to create the new businesses of IBM’s future, and to apply these innovations to help IBM clients succeed.
Dr. Kelly also leads IBM’s worldwide intellectual property efforts. IBM has led the world in U.S. patents for 20 consecutive years, generating more than 6,000 patents in 2012.
Prior to beginning his current assignment in July of 2007, Dr. Kelly was senior vice president of Technology and Intellectual Property, responsible for IBM’s technical and innovation strategies.
Dr. Kelly joined IBM in 1980. Between 1980 and 1990, he held numerous management and technical positions related to the development and manufacturing of IBM’s advanced semiconductor technologies. In 1990, he was named director of IBM’s Semiconductor Research and Development Center. Between 1994 and 2000, Dr. Kelly held several VP and GM positions across IBM’s businesses. In 2000, Dr. Kelly was named senior vice president and group executive for IBM’s Technology Group, where he was responsible for developing, manufacturing and marketing IBM’s microelectronics and storage technologies, products and services.
Dr. Kelly received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Union College in 1976. He received a Master of Science degree in physics from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1978 and his Doctorate in materials engineering from RPI in 1980. He has also received two honorary Doctoral degrees.
Dr. Kelly is Chairman of the Board of Governors of The IBM Academy of Technology; a board member and former chairman of the Semiconductor Industry Association; a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE); a member of the National Academy of Engineers; and a member of the Board of the New York Academy of Sciences. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for both Union College and RPI.
Dr. Kelly has received numerous technical and business leadership awards, including the Semiconductor Industry’s highest honor, the Robert E. Noyce Award, and the IEEE’s top award for R&D management, the Frederik Philips Award. In October 2013, he received the National Academy of Engineering’s Arthur M. Bueche Award for his leadership in driving U.S. semiconductor technology excellence through broad government, university, and corporate collaboration.
He has published numerous technical papers and recently published the book Smart Machines: IBM’s Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing with writer Steve Hamm on Columbia University Press.