Why I’m excited about the upcoming Watson Developer Conference!


I’ll be attending Watson Developer Conference 2016 Yay!!

Developer conferences have always been an interesting experience for me! Having  attended (and given short talks) at conferences such as Samsung Tizen DevCon, Blackberry Devcon, Google developer conferences etc, the most exciting aspect for me has always been the hands on dev sessions. Learning new technology, getting support from developer evangelists, tackling bugs, learning new design patterns …. and winning trophies at Hackathons! For the upcoming Watson Developer Conference, I’m equally stoked about the learning opportunities that lie ahead –  learning about Watson services, getting answers to some open questions and all the other extras.

Work directly with industry-leading experts and learn from your peers. The schedule is packed with technical talks, hands-on labs and coding challenges to get you working with the tools that will make you a sought-after developer.

Learning More About  Cognitive Computing Services and Their Applications.

IBM’s cognitive computing services (also known as Watson Services or Watson) are a set of API’s that allow you implement tasks such as natural  language process, machine learning classification etc. For example the text to speech services returns sound files when provided with a text text transcript. The Vision Recognition api returns a text “description” of the content of images it is provided with etc.

Some of my research agenda in the near future involve prototyping apps with strong cognitive components (natural language interactions and learning components) and I do believe these services can be harnessed to create  innovative, compelling user experiences.

Attending Watson Devcon provides an opportunity to learn more about these services, their applications (new use cases) and any updates coming to each service! I’m super stoked!

Support on Open Challenges with existing services

I have had the opportunity to use the Watson Alchemy Language API and have had some really interesting results in tagging email data with concepts and entities extracted.

Concepts – identifies concepts with which the input text is associated, based on other concepts and entities that are present in that text. Concept-related API functions understand how concepts relate, and can identify concepts that are not directly referenced in the text. For example, if an article mentions CERN and the Higgs boson, the Concepts API functions will identify Large Hadron Collider as a concept even if that term is not mentioned explicitly in the page. Concept tagging enables higher level analysis of input content than just basic keyword identification.

At the moment, it appears the extracted concepts are trained using the entire Wikipedia data corpus, and can sometimes  return spurious results. Being able to specify a domain for concepts may be a viable approach to reducing such spurious concepts. For example if I know my text content is mainly legal or financial text, then it might be helpful for me to specify the legal or financial domain as parameter to limit returned concepts to these domains. The conference will be an opportunity to discuss such features and possibly learn of other approaches to such issues.

What Else, Extras ?

The conference keynotes (how others are using watson, industry use cases etc), hands on labs, flash talks etc. And then ofcourse, the opportunity to engage with Silicon Valley and its vast network of tech professionals. I definitely look forward to all these!

Still considering the decision to attend? I’d say go for it! Need more info ? See – 5 reasons developers can’t afford to miss Watson DevCon!

About Vykthur

Mobile and Web App Developer and Researcher. Passionate about learning, teaching, and recently - writing.
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