IBM Expands Watson Analytics Program, Creates Citizen Data Scientists
IBM announced it is expanding its Watson Analytics academic program and delivering a new student edition to help empower citizen data scientists.IBM announced an expansion of its Watson Analytics academic program, along with a new student version of Watson Analytics. Last year, IBM rolled out an academic initiative delivering Watson Analytics to more than 400 universities worldwide. With its consumer-friendly interface and natural-language technology, Watson Analytics enables students to tap into the power of cognitive computing with an easy-to-use tool. That ease of use also enables professors to teach students how to glean insights from data without having to teach the ins and outs of computer science, data science or statistics. "We had this idea of trying to get Watson Analytics into the hands of those students outside the typical analytics or data science backgrounds," said Randy Messina, worldwide public sector manager of Watson Analytics. "So with Watson Analytics, we've been able to reach those non-technical users and [to get] Watson Analytics into the hands of students beyond your typical computer science or technical majors. It requires very little or no analytical skills and training. It was intended for users that want to go beyond Excel, but don't have the need for data mining or programming training." Indeed, the solution goes beyond the traditional computer science and information management disciplines and has been built into curricula for urban planning, marketing, health care and other unique disciplines, Messina said.
For example, when Dr. Robert Hoyt started planning the syllabus for his Health Informatics class at University of West Florida, he recognized that to teach his students—future administrators, nurses and physicians—about the power of data, he needed to bridge a gap in their knowledge about statistics. To do this, Hoyt put together a curriculum that took advantage of the ease of use and power of IBM Watson Analytics, Messina said.