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4 Universities To Launch Cognitive Computing Research Initiative

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), New York University (NYU), and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) will join forces with IBM to study the development and deployment of cognitive computing systems like the company's Watson.

Faculty at the universities "will study enabling technologies and methods for building a new class of systems that better enable people to interact with big data in what IBM has identified as a new era of computing," according to a press release.

According to information released by IBM, the initial research topics at each school will be:

  • MIT will look into "How socio-technical tools and applications can boost the collective performance of moderate-sized groups of humans engaged in collaborative tasks such as decision making;"
  • Faculty at RPI will research "How advances in processing power, data availability, and algorithmic techniques can enable the practical application of a variety of artificial intelligence techniques;"
  • CMU will investigate "How systems should be architected to support intelligent, natural interaction with all kinds of information in support of complex human tasks;" and
  • NYU will explore "How deep learning is impacting many areas of science where automated pattern recognition is essential."

These early research efforts will form the base for a Cognitive Systems Institute that will eventually include other universities, IBM clients, and research institutions.

"The cost-effective creation of cognitive systems for complex analytic tasks will require fundamental advances in the rapid construction, optimization, and constant adaptation of large ensembles of analytic components," said Eric Nyberg, professor at the Language Technologies Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, in a prepared statement. "Personalized information agents will rapidly adapt and optimize their task performance based on direct interaction with the end user. I am excited that CMU will be teaming with IBM, MIT, RPI and NYU to explore the future of software architecture for cognitive systems."

"I believe that cognitive systems technologies will make it possible to connect people and computers in new ways so that — collectively — they can act more intelligently than any person, group, or computer has ever done before," said Thomas Malone, director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence and the Patrick J. McGovern professor of management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, in a prepared statement. "I am excited to be working with IBM and these other universities to understand better how to harness these new forms of collective intelligence."

More information is available at

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].

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