IBM Taps Next Generation Leaders to Fuel Watson Innovations; USC Students Aim High in First-Ever West Coast Case Competition

IBM Taps Next Generation Leaders to Fuel Watson Innovations; USC Students Aim
                High in First-Ever West Coast Case Competition

Record Student Participation Drives New Ideas and Applications for Watson From
Helping People Suffering from PTSD to Improving Legal Research

PR Newswire

LOS ANGELES, March 11, 2013

LOS ANGELES, March 11,2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Two years after Jeopardy!, IBM
(NYSE: IBM)is putting Watson to work in ways that will forever change how
business and healthcare leaders solve problems.While company researchers are
hard at work developing new commercial applications for the cognitive
computing innovation, IBM is also turning to brilliant young minds in academia
for big ideas on where Watson should work next.



How big? Imagine a Watson-powered system that could uncover data-driven
insights to help medical professionals identify those who may be suffering
silently from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, provide lawyers with faster
research capabilities to improve their cases, and help businesses hire the
best talent in the job market.

This is the magnitude of ideas sparked by more than 100 University of Southern
California students who gathered recently to compete in the IBM Watson
Academic Case Competition. A debut on the West Coast, the Case Competition
put USC students in the spotlight to create business plans for applying Watson
to pressing business and societal challenges -- and IBM business leaders were
present and listening carefully.

IBM partners with thousands of universities to offer curricula, internships
and hands-onexperiences to help students learn first hand about new
technologies in the fields of Big Data, analytics and cognitive computing.
The company is at the forefront of creating a new workforce of Big Data
trained professionals, from IBM's collaboration with Cleveland Clinic, which
provides Watson as a collaborative learning tool for medical students, to its
public-private partnership with the New York City Department of Education and
the City University of New York to create the Pathways in Technology Early
College High School program (P-TECH), which allows students to participate in
a six year science and technology program and graduate with an associates
degree for free in computer science or engineering.

To kick-off the competition at USC's campus, IBM provided students with a
crash course on Watson's breakthrough capabilities, including a demonstration
of how Watson is helping WellPoint, Inc. and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer
Center improve the speed and quality of treatment for cancer patients. As the
first cognitive computing system of its kind in the marketplace, Watson is
able to understand and process the subtleties of human questions, sift through
vast amounts of data, and use sophisticated analytics to generate fast,
accurate answers for its human users. Watson also learns from its
interactions, constantly improving with each use. This represents a major
shift in organizations' ability to quickly analyze, understand and respond to
Big Data, in industries such as healthcare -- and this is where student minds
were put to the test.

As part of the competition, students were assigned into 24 teams and given 48
hours to define a new purpose for Watson, develop a business plan, and present
it to a panel of judges comprising school officials, IBM executives and local
business leaders. The challenge was unique among USC competitions because
students worked toward a common goal with peers from other disciplines --
similar to how IBM combines the talent of business leaders and research
scientists to develop its patented innovations.

To foster interdisciplinary collaboration, each team was required to have at
least one business and one engineering member, from USC's Marshall Business
School and Viterbi School of Engineering.

The student teams faced two rounds of judging based on four areas of criteria:
how well the concept and supporting plan articulated and supported the team's
vision; the feasibility of bringing the product or service to market and the
supporting elements; the extent the proposed solution leverages Watson's key
capabilities; and the team's presentation. Three winning ideas were selected
by a panel of eight industry and faculty judges, including representatives
from Bank of America, Ernst & Young, and IBM.

  o1st Place - Legal Research: Let Watson Do the Discovery for Your Next
    Legal Case - For corporate legal departments, building a case -- or
    defending one's own -- relies heavily on fast and accurate research. Past
    legal trials, court documents, articles and digital evidence: all of these
    materials can make or break a case, and together they comprise a sea of
    unstructured data that is both time-consuming and costly to pore through.
    The first place USC team proposed using Watson to process its users'
    research needs, based on its ability to think like a human, quickly sift
    through online legal documents for facts, and not only identify evidence
    to support a case -- but forecast its probability of success. The first
    place team's viewpoint: by placing Watson in charge of research, firms can
    recover time and costs, while delivering better legal outcomes. In turn,
    firms that leverage Watson's speed and efficiency can address the growing
    legal trend towards "flat fee" billing and research outsourcing.
  o2nd Place - Employee Training: Watson Uncovers the Keys to Success for
    Your Employees - According to the American Society for Training and
    Development (ASTD), 41 percent of employees at companies with inadequate
    training programs plan to leave within a year, versus 12 percent of
    employees at companies who provide excellent training and professional
    development programs. Conversely, the ASTD also states that effective
    employee training can lead to 218 percent higher income per employee and
    45 percent higher shareholder return than market average. The second place
    USC team proposes that corporate human resource departments use Watson to
    optimize employee training, by crunching data pertaining to the employers'
    HR needs, the employees' career goals, and the range of training options
    available that can help both parties succeed. The second place team's
    viewpoint: by improving employee satisfaction and retention, a
    Watson-powered employee training system can also drive higher shareholder
  o3rd Place - Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Watson Helps Doctors Find
    Patients – It is reported that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder affects
    nearly 7.7 million U.S. adults aged 18 and older. This includes people
    who have served in combat, experienced domestic violence, have been in car
    accidents, or other traumatic events. Many with PTSD suffer silently,
    including the 400,000+ U.S. veterans who have yet to be identified and
    treated, per the U.S. Veterans Administration. Thankfully, the catalysts
    behind this illness need no longer remain invisible -- due largely to Big
    Data. For example, there are now unprecedented amounts of data that
    accompany soldiers who return from war, from medical histories to
    information on combat experiences. The third place USC team proposes that
    physicians use Watson to identify people who may develop PTSD, by
    uncovering insights from data that can help piece together their personal
    story and shed light on pain he or she may be experiencing. The team's
    viewpoint: by helping physicians find and diagnose those suffering from
    PTSD, Watson can help medical professionals offer patients the treatment
    they deserve.

This competition is the latest example of how IBM is fueling innovation and
working with students in higher education to hone valuable business skills
that will shape the next generation of industry leaders. 

"Partnering with universities such as USC gives IBM a unique opportunity to
tap into the minds of our next-generation of leaders, whose training, skills
and ideas for changing the world are all forward-thinking and based on a
desire to make a meaningful impact," said Manoj Saxena, IBM General Manager,
Watson Solutions. "These students see what Watson is doing right now and think
-- how else will cognitive computing impact my life and career in the years to
come? To us, that's exactly the mindset that should be fueling IBM
innovations, and the very reason we host Watson Academic Case Competitions."

Due to the overwhelming response from USC students seeking to participate in
the Watson Academic Case Competition, students had to join a waiting list,
once the 24-team maximum had been reached. One faculty sponsor, noting that
the level of interest was unprecedented for a campus case competition,
predicted registration could reach 500 next year.

"For USC students, the opportunity to share their own ideas with IBM on how to
commercialize Watson is truly a unique experience," said Ashish Soni,
Executive Director of Digital Innovation and Founding Director of the Viterbi
Student Innovation Institute at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. "As
educators, we're quite pleased to see students getting excited about cognitive
computing innovation, because we know there's a business demand for the types
of skills they get to showcase in Watson Case Competitions."

Watson - Building a New Big Data Workforce

It's no secret that employers across the U.S. are seeking job candidates who
can analyze and build strategy around Big Data, or the 2.5 quintillion bytes
of information gleaned from sensors, mobile devices, online transactions and
social networks, to name just a few sources. A recent Gartner report
estimates that 1.9 million Big Data jobs will be created in the U.S. by 2015.

The Watson Case Competition at USC, the third in a series hosted by IBM, is
the latest example of IBM's work with academia to advance interest among
students in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculums that
will lead to high-impact, high-value careers. The competition is in keeping
with IBM's Academic Initiative which delivers course work, case studies and
curricula to more than 6,000 universities and 30,000 faculty members worldwide
to help students prepare for high-value future job opportunities.

IBM worked closely with academic institutions during the development and
introduction of Watson. Eight leading universities around the world
participated in the development phase of the system; and more than 10,000
students watched Watson triumph on the Jeopardy! quiz show in February 2011.
Most recently, IBM announced it would provide a modified version of an IBM
Watson system to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, making it the first
university to receive such a system that will enable leading-edge research by
faculty and students.

The competition at USC marks the latest collaboration between the university
and IBM. Over the last two years, students at the school's Annenberg
Innovation Lab have been using Big Data analytics technologies to conduct
social sentiment analyses and determine public engagement on topics such as
sports, film, retail and fashion. Two of the biggest projects looked at Major
League Baseball's World Series and the Academy Awards, projects developed for
students to explore and expand their skills as they prepare for new
data-intensive careers. IBM also collaborated with the USC Marshall School of
Business for "The Great Mind Challenge," a global academic initiative focused
on providing students with an opportunity to turn their social networking
savvy into business ready skills to prepare for the jobs of the future.

For more information on the University of Southern California, please visit

For more information on IBM Watson, please visit

For more information on the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, please visit

To join the social discussion about Watson include the hashtag #ibmwatson

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Media Contacts

Kristen Dattoli
IBM Media Relations, Watson
1 (617) 869-4378

Amy Blumenthal
Media Relations
USC Marshall School of Business
1 (213) 740-5552

Megan Hazle
Media Relations Specialist, USC Viterbi School of Engineering
1 (213) 821-5555


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