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Last month I wrote an article describing the interfaces and capabilities of Microsoft and IBM's new cloud data science products. I observed that Azure ML presents a user-friendly drag and drop data mining app for businesses, while Watson Analytics focuses on natural language queries but is still too nascent for use. A similar query for "IBM Watson Analytics" turns up 730,000 documents. Amid the deluge of coverage on both services, one could lose sight of the many upstart companies offering cloud machine learning services. However, new product categories are typically pioneered by startups.
IBM is teaming up with eight North American universities to further tune its cognitive system to tackle cybersecurity problems. Watson for Cyber Security, a platform already in pre-beta, will be further trained in "learning the nuances of security research findings and discovering patterns and evidence of hidden cyber attacks and threats that could otherwise be missed". IBM will work with eight US universities from autumn onwards for a year in order to push forward the project. The universities selected are California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; Pennsylvania State University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; New York University; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC); the University of New Brunswick; the University of Ottawa; and the University of Waterloo. The project is ultimately designed to bridge the cyber-security skills gap, a perennial issue in the industry.
You may know Watson as IBM's Jeopardy-winning, cookbook-writing, dress-designing, weather-predicting supercomputer-of-all trades. Starting today, 40 organizations will rely upon the clever computers cognitive power to help spot cybercrime. The Watson for Cybersecurity beta program helps IBM too, because Watson's real-world experience will help it hone its skills and work within specific industries. After all, the threats that keep security experts at Sun Life Financial up at night differ from those that spook the cybersleuths at University of New Brunswick. IBM researchers started training Watson in the fundamentals of cybersecurity last spring so the computer could begin to analysize and prevent threats.