NYU has established a collaborative research initiative with IBM and three other universities to advance the development and deployment of cognitive computing systems.

NYU Teams Up with IBM, Other Universities to Advance Research in Cognitive Systems
NYU has established a collaborative research initiative with IBM and three other universities to advance the development and deployment of cognitive computing systems.

These systems, akin to IBM Watson, can learn, reason, and help human experts make complex decisions involving extraordinary volumes of fast-moving data.

“IBM has demonstrated with Watson that cognitive computing is real and delivering value today,” said Zachary Lemnios, vice president of strategy for IBM Research. “It is already starting to transform the ways clients navigate big data and is creating new insights in healthcare, how research can be conducted, and how companies can support their customers. But much additional research is needed to identify the systems, architectures, and process technologies to support a new computing model that enables systems and people to work together across any domain of expertise.”

Faculty at the four schools—which also include Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)—will study 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.

These initial university collaborators will help lay the foundation for a Cognitive Systems Institute that IBM envisions will include universities, research institutes, and IBM clients.

The initial research topics for exploration are:

• NYU: How deep learning is affecting many areas of science where automated pattern recognition is essential;
• MIT: 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;
• RPI: How advances in processing power, data availability, and algorithmic techniques can enable the practical application of a variety of artificial intelligence techniques;
• CMU: How systems should be architected to support intelligent, natural interaction with all kinds of information in support of complex human tasks.

“NYU’s research into neural networks has the potential to revolutionize how we think about machines and the role they play in our everyday lives,” said Paul Horn, NYU’s senior vice provost for research. “NYU has a long history of helping create some of the work’s most important technological breakthroughs, so we are honored to be among the universities collaborating on this research initiative into cognitive computing systems. As a research university at the forefront of technology and innovation, we look forward to working with IBM and our fellow institutions to promote basic research into the next era of computing.”

Earlier this year, NYU announced the establishment of an Initiative in Data Science and Statistics that aims to harness today’s torrent of data in order to make advances in medicine, science, technology, business, and a range of other fields. The university-wide effort has included the creation of a Center for Data Science and graduate-degree programs in this emerging academic discipline.

For more information, please visit www.research.ibm.com/cognitive-computing/.

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