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IBM Brings Watson to Africa for Project Lucy

Using cognitive systems to tackle a continent’s grand challenges

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Lucy is the name given to the earliest known human descendant, whose remains were discovered in Africa 40 years ago. Today, IBM Watson, the first cognitive computing system, is coming to Africa as part of a 10-year, $100 million initiative to address the fast-growing continent's greatest business and societal challenges. With "Project Lucy", IBM researchers in Africa, together with their business and academic partners, will use Watson and related cognitive technologies to learn and discover insights from Big Data and develop commercially viable solutions to Africa’s grand challenges in healthcare, education, water and sanitation, human mobility and agriculture.

"In the last decade, Africa has been a tremendous growth story, yet the continent's challenges, stemming from population growth, water scarcity, disease, low agricultural yield and other factors are impediments to inclusive economic growth," said Kamal Bhattacharya, director, IBM Research - Africa.

"With the ability to learn from emerging patterns and discover new correlations, Watson's cognitive capabilities hold enormous potential in Africa - helping it to achieve in the next two decades what today's developed markets have achieved over two centuries."

To get the big picture of these challenges and opportunities, IBM asked people from every African country to send in photos of their environments. The response was overwhelming: more than 1,200 photos from 930 participants tell a diverse technology and innovation story. The slideshow below is a selection that-illustrates this diversity and the mission of IBM Research – Africa. Contest winners will be named on February 28, 2014.


Click on the images below to view and share the photos

city lights
A pedestrian bridge in Cape Town, South Africa
Third mainland bridge
Wind turbines in the Ngong region
Nairobi traffic at night
yellow minibus
airtel building
Young boys using an old television as a frame to peek out of.
charging booth in Nginyang town, East Pokot
Young child passing a water bucket to another person
Girl with a bowl walking across a small bridge
students in an outdoor classroom
A young girl taking care of a baby
Two men reading a bible
"Do not cross tape" with a policeman in the background at night
Three children posing in front of a field.
A muti shop
People walking on train tracks
A woman sitting at a vegetable stand
A man selling soccer balls in traffic
Caravan in the desert
Young girls at Koranic class in Dadaab