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$100,000 Nittany Watson Challenge

Explore the Boundaries of Artificial Intelligence

IBM Watson is a technology platform focused on data analysis, natural language processing, and machine learning. The EdTech Network is offering teams of students, faculty, and staff the chance to compete for awards totaling $100,000 in grant money to utilize this powerful platform to improve the student experience at Penn State.

Teams will develop and present Watson-based solutions that can assist students with challenges they face on a regular basis, including scheduling, transfer credits, job hunting, and more.

A panel of judges will award 10 projects $5,000 each in seed money for development. After a second round of judging, the panel will select five projects to receive an additional $10,000 each in funding for further development of a minimum viable product.

Sign in to the Nittany Watson Challenge Canvas course*, the central communication hub for all announcements and information related to the challenge. You'll also find extensive Watson training materials, a chat forum, and eligibility, submission, and award information.

The challenge is open only to Penn State students, faculty, and staff. 

Key dates:

  • February 17, 2017: Phase 1: Proposals due
  • February 27, 2017: Phase 1: Proposal winners announced
  • April 7, 2017: Phase 2: Prototypes due
  • April 21, 2017: Phase 2: Prototype finalists announced
  • July 31, 2017: Phase 3: Minimum Viable Products due

Congratulations to the Phase 1 winners. The following ideas have been selected for funding:

  • AdviseBot
  • Collanote
  • Credit Transfer Matching System
  • Intelligent Academic Advisor
  • Path to Success for the Prospective Student
  • Penn State Student Connection
  • Pre-Evaluation of Transfer Credits for Prospective Penn State Students
  • PSU Office Hours Optimizer
  • Pursuit
  • Virtual Advisor 

*If you experience difficulty logging into Canvas, please email

$100,000 Nittany Watson Challenge

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