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In Africa, Watson's Sister Lucy Is Growing ­p With the Help of Ibm's Research Team

Logo of IBM's Watson supercomputer.

IBM Research Africa's Lucy platform is dedicated to finding "commercially viable solutions to the continents grand challenges."

Credit: IBM

Now in its third year, IBM Research Africa's Kenya lab is giving shape to Lucy, a technology platform that uses elements of IBM's Watson system and data analytics to find "commercially viable solutions to the continent's grand challenges."

IBM Research Africa director Kamal Bhattacharya says a key goal of the project is to externalize cognitive computing capabilities on the cloud, establishing a problem-solving framework linking Lucy's computing power to teams of skilled information technology professionals.

IBM's African branch has been defining the project by assembling staff, hardware, and partnerships, and Lucy will be extended to a South African lab later this year, says IBM's Jonathan Batty. IBM's Africa labs are outfitted with the company's latest cloud-enabled IT infrastructure, and about 35 specialists from fields that include computer science, engineering, and environmental science are based in Kenya, according to Bhattacharya.

Issues such as education, infrastructure, healthcare, and economic inclusion are to be covered by IBM Research Africa's problem-solving groups, while project partners include hospitals, tech startups, and African universities.

Lucy's African challenge is underscored by the need to improve data to support more accurate solutions, with the availability of accurate data on the continent a major hindrance.

From TechCrunch
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