By: J.D. Ross
(315) 443-3094

Jim De Piante, IBM project manager on the Watson supercomputer project, will speak about the development of Watson and the Jeopardy! gameshow challenge on November 3.

Watson, named after IBM’s founder, Thomas J. Watson, was built by a team of IBM researchers who set out to accomplish a grand challenge — build a computing system that rivals a human’s ability to answer questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence. The TV show Jeopardy! provided the ultimate challenge because the game’s clues involve analyzing subtle meaning, irony, riddles and other complexities in which humans excel and computers traditionally do not.

Watson passed its first test on Jeopardy! in February, beating the show’s two greatest champions in a televised exhibition match, but the real test will be in applying the underlying data management and analytics technology in government and business.

In his talk, De Piante will share background and insider stories on the development of Watson. He will also put Watson in historical context alongside similar events used to showcase technological marvels such as Watson. The discussion, De Piante hopes, “will challenge us to think about future applications for the technology that Watson pioneers.”

De Piante served as a flight crewman in the US Navy, then graduated summa cum Laude in Information Technology from the University of Florida. He joined IBM as a software engineer and has been with the company for 27 years.

He is an IBM Executive Project Manager and is certified by the Project Management Institute. He also holds IBM’s highest PM certification.

Jim has managed projects across IBM divisions including IBM Global Services, and IBM Research. His projects have been in a variety of disciplines including hardware, software, microprocessors, e-business, and natural language processing.

The talk, sponsored by the School of Information Studies, will be held in the Life Sciences Complex Auditorium (001) at 6:00 p.m. on November 3. The talk is free and open to the public.