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IBM’s computer may soon be teaching 3rd-grade math

By Aniket Sovani
We’re sure that many of you have already heard of IBM’s Watson. For the unfamiliar, Watson is a supercomputer developed by IBM which uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and natural language processing to serve as an “intelligent” question answering machine. Basically, Watson has access to a huge powerhouse of unstructured data including encyclopedias, dictionaries, news articles, literary works, and other similar sources. When presented with a question or problem, it can simultaneously execute several analysis algorithms, equivalent to a million books per second, to evaluate what is being asked and provide the best answers based on relevant evidence and quality of information available. As more data is added over time, Watson improves in accuracy by learning from the behavior and patterns of its user. Watson is designed for “cognitive computing” - to mimic the thought process of human beings in a computerized model.

IBM has been working with the American Federation of Teachers to develop a program called Teacher Advisor, which uses Watson’s technology to help them create lesson plans in math for their third-grade students. The program will be loaded with data from several experienced teachers who are experts in the subject matter, as well as Common Core standards. Based on the initial lessons and searches inputted by teachers, Watson will analyze the data, as well as the skill level of students, to recommend suitable exercises and lesson plans for that particular classroom. The goal is to help teachers provide each student with an equal opportunity for success by harnessing their individual talent for mathematics, without burdening students with an obsolete “one size fits all” teaching system.

If you ever wondered how mathematics is useful in our daily lives, Watson is a perfect example. Governments and industries such as healthcare, education and financial services are increasingly relying on powerful systems which can analyze huge amounts data in seconds and present multiple solutions to a problem. However, a machine is only as smart as the humans who program them and we’re going to need all the intelligent minds we can get to develop supercomputers of the future. Companies like IBM are always on the lookout for individuals with a talent for data analysis and creating complex algorithms. Developing an early interest in subjects like mathematics, statistics and computer science will ensure that you're up to the task.
Source [TechTimes] [IBM]