Students Get Access To IBM Watson With University Of Aberdeen Cognitive Computing Deal


Researchers already collaborating with IBM scientists on EU Marie Curie K-Drive project, which investigates ways of using big data and knowledge graphs in the treatment of cancers

A Scottish university has partnered with IBM to give students and staff access to IBM’s Watson Engagement Advisor, a personal assistant-style service that interacts with customers, listens to questions and offers solutions to problems.

The University of Aberdeen is one of just four university institutions in the UK to have access to IBM’s service, and will allow the university to head into new research opportunities and expand its curriculum.

Semantic Web Engineering

It will initially be used by students undertaking the Department of Computing Science’s Semantic Web Engineering module, which is taught by Dr Jeff Z. Pan, who is the leader of the Knowledge Technology group in the department. It will eventually be offered more widely across a range of relevant programmes.

Dr Pan said: “With access to Watson we are providing the next generation of students with experience of the latest techniques in cognitive computing, which puts them in a strong position when it comes to a career in the industry.

“The partnership with IBM is an exciting opportunity to advance our research in this area.  Cognitive computing is empowering human decision-making processes by understanding and exploiting data which is structured and unstructured, and our research is focused on how to make the best use of both types of data.”

Academics at the University are already undertaking cognitive computing research using Watson.

Researchers are collaborating with a team of IBM scientists on the EU Marie Curie K-Drive project, which investigates ways of understanding and utilising big data and knowledge graphs for applications, such as those in the treatment of cancers.  This involves using IBM Watson’s question and answering, knowledge representation and dialogue capabilities. The results of the work will also form the basis of new research proposals from the University for the EU Horizon 2020 Programme.

IBM Academic Initiative Leader, Paul Fryer, said: “Cognitive represents an entirely new model of computing that includes a range of technology innovations in analytics, natural language processing and machine learning. The collaboration between IBM and the University of Aberdeen, which builds on a long-standing relationship, aims to help nurture the next generation of innovators; and is the first initiative of this type in Scotland.”

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