Student Teams to Present Final Ideas For CUNY-IBM Watson Case Competition

NYC Students Spark Innovative Ideas To Improve Higher Education, City Services Using IBM Watson Technology

NEW YORK, NY-January 13, 2015 – Ten student teams from The City University of New York will present their final five-minute presentations on how to improve the future operations of higher education and New York City government services using the IBM Watson cognitive technology. The final presentations of the CUNY-IBM Watson Case Competition are scheduled at noon, January 15 in Room 750 of the Newman Conference Center at Baruch College.

The CUNY-IBM Watson Case Competition, organized by the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College in collaboration with The CUNY Institute for Virtual Enterprise and The Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship, invited all matriculated CUNY students to share their innovative ideas during the fall 2014 semester.

NOTE: Team profiles and videos available online.

“The partnership with IBM offers students the opportunity to look into the future and the way society does business and provides services. It empowers students to shape the future that they will inherent,” said Stan Altman, PhD., Professor School of Public Affairs at Baruch College. “The CUNY-IBM Watson competition is an opportunity for students to think about how to reshape higher education and how city services are delivered.”

“This competition unleashes the talent of some of our city’s best and brightest,” said Stanley S. Litow, IBM Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and President of the IBM International Foundation. “By exploring ways to improve the lives of New Yorkers using next generation technology, today’s students will be encouraged and inspired to become tomorrow’s innovators.”

The CUNY-IBM Watson Case Competition enables students to learn and develop apps for applying the IBM Watson cognitive technology to improve the operation of organizations and the delivery of services to its customers. IBM developed a thinking computer that debuted on the game show “Jeopardy!” and is now advising doctors on cancer treatments. The innovative technology understands complex questions, analyzes volumes of data, and can verbally interact with humans and propose accurate, nuanced information. IBM Watson embodies the future and this competition is an opportunity for CUNY students to be part of the next generation of jobs and businesses that will be created.

Altman said the City University of New York provided an ideal platform for this competition when it created the Center for Student Entrepreneurship.

“This summer CUNY created the Center for Student Entrepreneurship to draw on the energy and creativity of our students to find innovative solutions to many challenges facing society today,” he said. “These solutions can lead to new businesses that can employ our students and strengthen the economy of New York City tomorrow.”

Throughout the competition, teams were tasked to find ways that IBM Watson can be applied to higher education and the delivery of public services by New York City. The competition attracted 254 students from 18 CUNY colleges. Of those, 117 were invited to participate in a two-day boot camp, Oct. 24 and 25, where IBM mentors, faculty advisors and other experts in the field provided feedback on their initial ideas. The group has been narrowed down to the Top 10 teams who will participate in a final round of presentations on January 15, 2015.

The competition is supported by a grant on higher education innovation awarded by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation. Baruch’s School of Public Affairs and Zicklin School of Business partnered with IBM for this innovative competition to provide resources and support to all participants and competition organizers.

The prizes will be awarded to the top three teams: $5,000 (1st place), $3,000 (2nd place), and $2,000 (3rd place). All participants will have an opportunity to sign up for summer 2015 internships; join CUNY Entrepreneurship Boot Camp; work in CUNY’s Incubator; and have access to the entrepreneurship network in virtual and real space.

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About Baruch College:

Baruch College is a senior college in the City University of New York (CUNY) with a total enrollment of more than 18,000 students, who represent 164 countries and speak more than 129 languages. Ranked among the top 15% of U.S. colleges and the No. 4 public regional university, Baruch College is regularly recognized as among the most ethnically diverse colleges in the country. As a public institution with a tradition of academic excellence, Baruch College offers accessibility and opportunity for students from every corner of New York City and from around the world. For more about Baruch College, go to



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