News: Department of Computer Science projects using big data and cognitive computing in cancer research will start and platform use will be extended to other programmes
The University of Aberdeen Department of Computer Science has been given access to IBM’s Watson Engagement Advisor, one of IBM’s cognitive computing technology solutions.
The partnership will provide students hands-on experience of IBM’s cognitive computing system, allow the University to expand its curriculum and help nurture the next generation of innovators.
Cognitive computing systems learn and interact naturally with people to make sense of complex data in order to facilitate better decisions.
Watson represents a new era of computing based on its ability to interact in natural language, process vast amounts of disparate data, and learn from each interaction.
Aberdeen becomes one of only four UK Institutions to have access to the Watson Engagement Advisor solution and its experts. 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.
Academics at the University are already undertaking cutting-edge 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 & 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.
Dr Pan, the coordinator of the K-Drive project, 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."
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."
Founded in 1495, the University of Aberdeen is Scotland’s third oldest and the UK’s fifth oldest university, and is consistently ranked among the top 1% of the world’s universities.
The University’s Department of Computing Science has a long-standing reputation in Intelligent Systems, with world recognised expertise in areas such as knowledge technologies, multi-agent systems and natural language generation.