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IBM expands Watson education push with deal at Michigan University

10 Sep 2012
IBM Watson supercomputer

IBM is expanding efforts to put its Watson big data analytics platform in the hands of university students.

The company said that it had struck a deal with the Michigan State University colleges of business, engineering and natural science which will see the installation of a Watson computing cluster as part of a new curriculum in business and data analytics.

Under the plan, the University would be making the Watson system available for a number of courses in areas ranging from business strategy and management to marketing and analysis course.

The company said that the deal with Michigan State is parter of a larger push to train students on the Watson platform in preparation for careers as data analysts.

"Given the large amounts of new data created every single minute, analytics skills are no longer just a requirement for the IT professional, they are becoming increasingly important for the business professional as well," IBM business analytics vice president Deepak Advani.

"The business world has steadily seen analytics become one of the most important skills required to prepare our business leaders of tomorrow, and we are so pleased to be working with a top university like Michigan State to help them explore new and innovative ways to bridge business and technical skills together."

With qualified data analysts in short supply, vendors have turned to the university level and stepped up efforts to train students in best practices for their respective big data platforms.

Microsoft has long advocated the use of Watson in universities, while EMC recently launched a campaign to train and certify students on its big data platforms.

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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