The University of Rochester (UR) Simon School of Business and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced winners of the first Watson academic case competition. Part of a series for students studying a variety of academic concentrations, the competition develops new ideas for harnessing IBM Watson technology to solve daunting societal and business challenges while helping students advance technology and business skills for jobs of the future.
Watson, named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, was built by a team of scientists to accomplish a grand challenge –a computing system that rivals a human’s ability to answer questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence. The Watson technology represents a new class of cognitive systems that can quickly sift through large volumes of Big Data, and apply advanced analytics to improve decision making across a variety of use case and industries.
Twenty-five MBA and master of science students with concentrations ranging from marketing and business consulting to finance and entrepreneurship competed in teams submitting seven proposals outlining how Watson's technology could be applied to solve complex challenges in the transportation, energy, retail and public sector industries.
Three winning ideas were selected by a panel of judges comprised of faculty, regional business leaders and IBM executives. Team evaluations were based on the ability of the students to clearly articulate the business case including market research, tactical planning and feasibility while exhibiting an understanding of how to harness Big Data for strategic outcomes.