Pitch an IBM Watson App or Roll Your Own Watson Jr.

I’ve written previously about the IBM Watson cognitive computing platform. I recently visited the Watson website and saw that IBM is holding a sort of crowdsourcing contest to find talented developers who have ideas for great Watson powered apps. The IBM Watson team is soliciting proposals until March 31. According to their timeline, they’ll review the proposals and down-select to a group of 25 finalists by April 28. Is seems that they’re looking for seasoned teams that have previous experience delivering mobile apps. Ideally, they’re hoping to get proposals from teams who have innovative and solid ideas that leverage Watson’s ability to sort through structured and unstructured data and present possible answers to specific inquiries. My guess is that IBM is most interested in apps that zero in on narrow domains (e.g. healthcare, real estate, or weather) but have applicability to a broad audience.

IBM WatsonTeams that make it into the top 25 will be given access to a Watson API and sandbox so that they can build out prototypes of their concepts. Out of the top 25, judges will select 5 finalists to pitch their app ideas to a panel of live judges. It’ll be interesting to see the results. If you’ve got an idea for an app that leverages Watson’s powerful question answering powers, don’t miss this opportunity!

For developers who’d rather go it alone, but who still want to reap the benefits of cognitive computing. perhaps you might want to roll your own question answering platform. A while ago, I ran across a great post by Tony Pearson that describes how to build a version of IBM Watson in your basement (or garage or wherever suits you). The article goes into an amazing amount of detail. Even if you don’t have ambitions to create your own Watson Jr., the information is enlightening and helps you gain a better understanding of what makes the Watson cognitive computing platform tick.

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