After arriving and getting settled yesterday, the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) World Finalists had a full day of activities today. The morning featured the IBM Tech Trek, an annual event where IBM executives highlight and discuss one of the contest themes. Given that cognitive computing is the major theme of this year's contest, it was only fitting that Watson was the focus of this interactive session.
The victory of IBM's Watson on Jeopardy! in 2011 ushered in the era of cognitive systems. One of the most significant innovations in IBM's history, Watson is revolutionary in its ability to interact in natural language, process vast and disparate forms of big data, and learn from each interaction. Watson can sift through and analyze big data at unprecedented speed to assist business professionals with insights in many industries, including healthcare and customer service. Today, Watson is delivered as a cloud service via the Watson Ecosystem, a community providing an outlet for developers and content providers to create the next generation of cognitive applications. As these World Finalists prepare to join the global workforce after graduation, Watson presents an intriguing and unique career opportunity.
Following Tech Trek, all ICPC participants, coaches, volunteers and executives attended the 2014 ACM-ICPC World Finals Opening Ceremony. Held at Cosmos Hall in downtown Ekaterinburg, the ceremony featured speeches, dancing, award presentations, extremely loud music and more.
The day concluded with a lovely dinner hosted by Ural Federal University. For those looking for some evening fun, the IBM Chill Zone highlighted some of the amazing innovations made in IBM labs.
That's it for today! I’ll be back tomorrow to share information regarding how to follow the contest from home, so be sure to check back in.
Chas Kurtz is media liaison for the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC).