IBM Watson Teams Up With Colleges to Tackle Cybercrime

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By Daniel R. Stoller

May 10 — International Business Machine Corp.'s supercomputer that dominated the U.S. television show “Jeopardy!” is now accepting another challenger: hackers, according to a May 10 statement.

IBM has teamed up with eight universities—California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; Pennsylvania State University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; New York University; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC); the University of New Brunswick; the University of Ottawa and the University of Waterloo—to teach the supercomputer, commonly known as Watson, the “nuances of security research findings and discovering patterns and evidence of hidden cyberattacks,” the statement said.

The goal of “Watson for Cyber Security” is to help security professionals use “cognitive systems that automate the connections between data, emerging threats and remediation strategies” to detect cyberattacks, IBM said.

Cybersecurity Skill Crisis

According to a 2015 IBM study, the average company sees “over 200,000 pieces of security event data per day” and spends over $1.3 million dealing with false positives and misinformation.

Additionally, companies can only process about 8 percent of unstructured data—such as blogs, articles, videos, reports, alerts and other information—which accounts for 80 percent of all Internet data.

“Even if the industry was able to fill the estimated 1.5 million open cybersecurity jobs by 2020, we'd still have a skills crisis in security,” Marc van Zadelhoff, general manger of IBM Security, said. “Leveraging Watson's ability to bring context to staggering amounts of unstructured data” will assist cybersecurity professionals detect and prevent cyberattacks, he said

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel R. Stoller in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jimmy H. Koo at

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