Earlier this month the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) announced the recipients of the 2016 AISES Professional of the Year Awards. Among those being honored was IBM Master Inventor Tara Astigarraga who received the Technical Excellence award for her contributions to science, engineering and technology.
As an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Tara began her career at IBM in 2001 when she was part of an internship program dedicated to diversity recruitment. Blending her career and heritage, Tara continues to be a dedicated and passionate champion for Native Americans and women pursuing STEM disciplines. Guided by the large digital divide that still exists in most Native communities, Tara’s ultimate goal is to provide the same opportunities she has had to future generations and to prove that career and traditional values can co-exist. We asked her about her research, aspirations and recent award.
What is your area of research?
Tara Astigarraga: I am working to design and implement one of the first enterprise Blockchain Hyperledger solutions as part of a joint-project across IBM Research and IBM’s Global Technology Services Multi-Vendor Support Services. The goal of this Blockchain implementation is to provide a trusted and transparent shared ledger to allow expedited resolving of billing disputes based on evidence within the Blockchain. This process essentially gives a bank and a vendor and a seller, for example, a way to see the path of the goods and services they exchange.
I am the focal point for the Blockchain UI, data flows, and Blockchain billing service. In addition, our team works in a full stack development model, which means we work with all members collaborating on developing and innovating the Blockchain solution, including contributions to APIs, data models, chaincode and solution deployments.
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