Artificial-Intelligence Computer System ‘Watson’ Goes to College

by Jake New, Chronicle of Higher Ed

The IBM supercomputer known as Watson already has an impressive résumé, having beaten two of Jeopardy’s most famous champions. But it is lacking in college experience. Now the artificial-intelligence computing system is becoming a student of sorts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, IBM announced on Tuesday. The New York institution is the first university to be provided with a Watson system. At RPI, the Watson system will give professors and students an opportunity to find new uses for the technology, allowing students to gain experience with big data analytics and, in turn, deepen the system’s abilities, said Michael Henesey, vice president for business development at IBM, formally the International Business Machines Corporation. RPI was chosen to receive a Watson system based on the company’s long relationship with the university; several RPI graduates are members of the project’s team.

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