IBM is increasing its efforts to support big data academic programs. IBM has forged new partnerships with Michigan State University, Northwestern University, Yale University, and the University of Southern California in the past 18 months. "We're working with universities to provide help with curricula, technology, and real-world projects to help them teach this technology, and to help students put it into practice," says IBM's Rich Rodts.
IBM wants to help prepare students for careers in data analytics by tailoring their skills to the needs of today's business environment, creating a new type of data scientist. "When I look at a data scientist, I look at someone who has to have an understanding of why analytics is important — and more importantly, what data is needed to make that analysis relevant," Rodts says. Some of the real-world projects focus more on communication skills, which attempts to prepare students for presenting analytic output to CEOs.
Last summer IBM launched an internship program that enabled students to work with its staff and clients on business projects that utilize the Watson supercomputer's cognitive computing skills, including natural-language processing, machine learning, and hypothesis generation.
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