The Buzz


Oct 07, 2013

Ideas Needed for #nextpowerapp Contest

By Evelyn Hoover

The IBM Systems Magazine and EXTRA enewsletter readers are smart folks full of good ideas. We are looking for those good ideas for a contest we are co-sponsoring with the IBM Linux on Power team.

The Next Power App concept is simple and open to everyone (except IBM and MSP Communications employees). Tweet your idea for the #nextpowerapp using the hashtag and be entered into a drawing for a tablet of your choice (valued at up to $500). So basically you write 140 characters with our hashtag and you could win a tablet. Simple, right?

And if you don’t have Twitter, we’ve got you covered there too. We set up a #nextpowerapp Web page with a button you can click on to fill out a form with 140 characters. Those ideas will be tweeted out via our @LinuxIBMMag Twitter account (feel free to follow us there too).

Need some examples of what we’re looking for? Here you go: "Analyze what's in my refrigerator and give me a good recipe to make #nextpowerapp" or "Regulate traffic so I never have to wait at a light again #nextpowerapp".

Once the contest closes Oct. 31, Linux subject matter experts will select the top ideas. This final cut from the judges will be highlighted on the IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems Facebook page. The entire community will get an opportunity to vote on the FINAL and WINNING entry. The person with the winning entry wins the tablet. Be sure to follow us on Facebook for the opportunity to vote, and we’ll also be communicating via Twitter.

So come on readers, submit your ideas. It doesn’t take long and you could win a tablet.

Mar 21, 2013

USC Students Contemplate Some New Ways to Use Watson

By Evelyn Hoover

That Watson beat two champions on “Jeopardy!” is old news. That Watson is more than just a computer system that could do so is also old news. That Watson technology is being applied to real-world business challenges is new news. Looking to tap into the creative juices of college students while contemplating new uses for its Watson technology, IBM held a contest for University of Southern California students. The 100 students competed in the IBM Watson Academic Case Competition. The contest was a first on the West Coast. It put USC students in the spotlight to create business plans for applying Watson to pressing business and societal challenges.

According to the IBM news release, students were judged in two rounds based on four 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. 
The team that won proposed to use Watson in a legal setting. The project was titled “Legal Research: Let Watson Do the Discovery for Your Next Legal Case.” The 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. 
The second-place team was attempting to tackle a challenge that many businesses are facing with their project titled “Employee Training: Watson Uncovers the Keys to Success for Your Employees.” The USC team proposed 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 team’s viewpoint: by improving employee satisfaction and retention, a Watson-powered employee training system can also drive higher shareholder value. 
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was the focus of the third-place team with their project titled, “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Watson Helps Doctors Find Patients.” The team proposed 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.
IBM partners with thousands of universities to offer curricula, internships and hands-on experiences to help students learn first hand about new technologies in the fields of big data, analytics and cognitive computing. For example, the company collaborates extensively 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, according to the news release.