IBM bridges skills gap in artificial intelligence through hands-on hackathons and coding competitions
San Francisco – 09 Nov 2016: At the IBM (NYSE: IBM) Watson Developer Conference, IBM announced a partnership with Topcoder, the premier global software development community comprised of more than one million designers, developers, data scientists, and competitive programmers, to advance learning opportunities for cognitive developers who are looking to harness the power of Watson to create the next generation of artificial intelligence apps, APIs, and solutions. This partnership also benefits businesses that gain access to an increased talent pool of developers through the Topcoder Marketplace with experience in cognitive computing and Watson.
Topcoder challenges are submitted to the community, and collaboration, competition and peer review ensure the best innovations and solutions rise to the top. Topcoder hosts 7,000 code challenges a year and has awarded $80 million to its community. This disruptive model for learning and delivering new solutions is highly regarded by developers and businesses alike for its ability to motivate through competition and peer review, resulting in coding confidence and new career opportunities for individuals.
The IBM and Topcoder partnership will make Watson and IBM Cloud services available to the Topcoder Community. Through Topcoder-run hackathons and coding competitions, participants can easily access a range of Watson services – such as Conversation, Sentiment Analysis or speech APIs – to build powerful new tools with the help of cognitive computing and artificial intelligence. Developers will have the opportunity to showcase and monetize their solutions on the IBM Marketplace, while businesses will be able to access a new pipeline of talent experienced with Watson.
According to Forrester VP and Principal Analyst JP Gownder, by 2019, automation will change every job category by at least 25 percent. Additionally, IDC predicts that 75 percent of developer teams will include cognitive/AI functionality in one or more applications by 2018. The industry is driving toward a new level of computing potential not witnessed since the introduction of Big Data.
“The potential of Watson to transform the way we work and live is unlimited. The artificial intelligence revolution presents developers, entrepreneurs and mid-career programmers with an opportunity to create innovation at a level we’ve never seen before,” said Willie Tejada, IBM Chief Developer Advocate. “This partnership expands the Watson Developer Community and Watson’s capabilities to the more than 1 million Topcoder contributors, creating a collaborative and competitive environment where individuals can learn and advance their careers while accelerating next-generation technology development for all.”
This partnership continues IBM’s commitment to equip developers with the educational resources they need. In addition to a variety of academic partnerships, IBM recently announced the introduction of an AI Nanodegree program with Udacity, to help developers establish a foundational understanding of artificial intelligence. In addition, IBM offers the IBM Learning Lab, which features more than 100 curated online courses and cognitive uses cases from providers like Codeacademy, Coursera, Big Data University, and Udacity. As well as, IBM DeveloperWorks, which offers how-to tutorials and courses on IBM tools and open standard technologies for all phases of the app development lifecycle.
“Since 2008, Topcoder and IBM have successfully collaborated on innovative technology initiatives that reflect a shared commitment to disrupting the norm, and serve as a positive catalyst for change to the people, processes and industries we touch,” said Mike Morris, CEO for Topcoder. “The extension of our relationship through 2019 demonstrates continued support for the Topcoder and IBM communities that lead the world in cognitive computing and artificial intelligence skills. That high caliber of development talent is what’s required today in order for customers to develop the most progressive industry solutions for tomorrow.”
Topcoder provides leading companies with on-demand access to the people and skills needed to stay ahead. For more information on Topcoder visit: www.topcoder.com
About IBM Watson
Watson represents a new era in computing called cognitive computing, where systems understand the world in a way more similar to humans: through senses, learning, and experience. Watson continuously learns from previous interactions, gaining in value and knowledge over time. With the help of Watson, organizations are harnessing the power of cognitive computing to transform industries, help professionals do their jobs better, and solve important challenges. As part of IBM’s strategy to accelerate the growth of cognitive computing, Watson is open to the world, allowing a growing community of developers, students, entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts to easily tap into the most advanced and diverse cognitive computing platform available today. Watson solutions are being built, used and deployed in more than 45 countries and across 20 different industries.
For more information on IBM Watson, visit: ibm.com/Watson and ibm.com/press/watson. Join the conversation at #ibmwatson.
Topcoder helps businesses get ready for tomorrow by embracing the world’s top talent today through crowdsourcing. The Topcoder Marketplace is where a global community of experts works with organizations around the world to accelerate innovation, increase bandwidth, and tap into hard-to-find expertise on demand. The Topcoder Community includes more than one million of the world’s top designers, developers and data scientists from almost every country in the world. Learn more at www.topcoder.com.
 “Robots will transform, not replace, human work”, Computerweekly, January 2016 http://www.computerweekly.com/opinion/Robots-will-transform-not-replace-human-work
 IDC FutureScape: Dawn of the DX Economy and the Digital-Native Enterprise (IDC #US41883016, November 2016).