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IBM supercomputer Watson to make visit to RIT

Rochester Business Journal
January 14, 2013

The IBM Corp. supercomputer and “Jeopardy!” champion Watson is to visit Rochester Institute of Technology on Tuesday.

Stephan Roorda, a 2001 RIT computer science graduate and Watson Core Developer at IBM, will visit RIT to show off Watson, explain how it works and discuss where IBM is taking it next, RIT officials said. The free and open presentation, which includes a demonstration during which people can ask Watson questions, will run from noon to 1 p.m. in the Golisano Hall auditorium.

“Stephan has put together a version of the program for us that displays some of the data Watson looks through to determine answers,” said Paul Tymann, chairman of RIT’s computer science department. “Knowing Stephan, he may have actually ‘taught’ Watson something about RIT.”

Watson gained fame after defeating former "Jeopardy!" champions Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings.

After the public debut, IBM began looking for ways to commercialize Watson’s artificial intelligence engine, RIT officials noted. Watson’s data-crunching capabilities could be used to help suggest diagnoses to doctors or analyze massive amounts of data for insurance companies, university officials noted.

Computer science alumnus Randy Horwitz, the manager of IBM’s Extreme Blue internship program, also will attend the event hoping to find RIT students to work on the Watson team and other co-op opportunities, RIT officials added.

 (c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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