CUNY-IBM Watson Case Competition


BRUCE WEED from IBM presentation Orientation covering IBM Watson and IBM Bluemix – click to watch video


Hosted by the Baruch College’s Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs

Cognitive technology, sometimes referred to as artificial intelligence, has transformed industry after industry, from law to medicine, from education to retail. With IBM Watson, oncologists at Memorial Sloan Kettering use cognitive systems to help understand large swaths of medical data and then diagnose patients’ cancers; Macy’s uses them to send shoppers personalized offers as they walk through the door. Watson is working with “Sesame Street” to create a cognitive tutor for the next generation of collaborative learning tools; even fashion designers, movie editors and chefs use cognitive technologies as part of their creative process.

Prepare for tomorrow’s career by competing in the CUNY-IBM Watson Case Competition.

In this competition Baruch College, the City University of New York and IBM are interested in exploring ways that IBM Watson and Bluemix services can be applied to Higher Education and the delivery of Public Services by New York City. The competition gives student teams the opportunity to explore ideas and concepts on how this cognitive technology can be applied in these two sectors.

Examples of possible applications:

  • Improving the quality and effectiveness of public undergraduate education
  • Helping to better deliver public services such as Public Safety, Health, and Transportation

Teams of CUNY students will work through various milestones while being mentored by IBM, CUNY faculty and other experts in the field.

Competition Format:

  • Teams of 3-5 students will present their preliminary concepts on March 18, 2017 at the Watson “boot camp”
  • Teams must complete 3 milestones
  • The finalists will participate in a final round of presentations on May 12, 2017, when cash prizes will be awarded to the top 3 teams.

Benefits of participating in the Watson Challenge include:

  • Cash Prizes: 1st place $5,000; 2nd place $3,000; 3rd place $2,000
  • Participate in Baruch College’s Entrepreneurship Boot Camp
  • Eligible to apply for admission to Center for Student Entrepreneurship Incubator
  • Access to the entrepreneurship network in virtual and real space

Requirements to Participate in the Competition

  • The competition will be open to all matriculated CUNY students.
  • Attendance at the boot camp is required to participate in the competition.
  • All deliverables as noted must be received by the submission deadlines.

Competition Schedule

  • Registration Period: February 3 – February 28 – Students will register for the competition and create team profile and concept page.
  • Information Session: February 9 – IBM volunteers and campus representatives will be at Baruch College to answer questions from students participating in the competition. (Due to snow storm in-person orientation cancelled but links to videos covering orientation are at top of this page.)
  • Milestone #1 (Due by March 12 no later than 11:00 pm): ​ 2 page executive summary describing the use of IBM Watson for practical and creative applications that address issues within Higher Education or the NYC Government Sector.
  • Boot Camp: March 17, 5:00 – 8:00 pm & March 18. (9:30 am – 5:00 pm – To be held on the Intrepid Museum. Attendance is mandatory.
  • Milestone #2: April 21 – Teams submit their business case analysis (3 pages maximum) and an accompanying 1-minute video.
  • Finalists Announced: April 28
  • Milestone #3: May 10, 2017 – Finalist submit PowerPoint presentation (max. 6-8 slides) for pre-loading on computer prior to presentation on May 12, 2017.
  • May 12 – Final presentations, winners selected and Award Ceremony.

Click here for more information and FAQs for the CUNY IBM Watson Competition. If you have any questions please contact Jonelle Griffen at (646) 660-6720 or

The competition is sponsored, in part, by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation