Education and Cognitive Sciences (2015-17)       


 photo photoAllison Allain photo Maria D Chang photoDANISH CONTRACTOR photo Tengfei Ma photoSmit Marvaniya photo Robert J. (Bob) Schloss photo Patrick D Watson photo

Education and Cognitive Sciences (2015-17) - overview

 Our Presentations at Recent Conferences

Conference Date/Location Paper Authors

Sept 25-29

Mumbai India

Gaze or Touch: Comparison of Interaction Techniques for Agent-Based Early-Childhood Learning Application
Deepak Akkil, Prasenjit Dey, Deepshikha Salian, Nitendra Rajput
Virtual Reality Developer Conference

Sept 21-22

San Francisco, CA

Aldis Sipolins
IJCAI 2017

Aug 19-25

Melbourne, Australia

Inverted Bilingual Topic Models for Lexicon Extraction from Non-parallel Data
Tengfei Ma, Tetsuya Nasukawa
AIED 2017

June 28-July 2

Wuhan China

Wizard’s Apprentice: Cognitive Suggestion Support for Wizard-of-Oz Question Answering Jae-wook Ahn, Patrick Watson, Maria Chang, Sharad Sundararajan, Tengfei Ma, Nirmal Mukhi, Srijith Prabhu
AIED 2017

June 28-July 2

Wuhan China

Conginuous Cognitive Career Companions Bhavna Agrawal, Rong Liu, Ravindranath Kokku, Yi-Min Chee, Ashish Jagmohan, Satya Nitta, Sherry Sin and Michael Tan
EDM 2017

June 25-28

Wuhan China

Inferring Frequently Asked Questions from Student Answering Forums Renuka Sindhgatta, Smitkumar Marvaniya, Tejas Dhamecha, Bikram Sengupta
EDM 2017

June 25-28

Wuhan China

Tell Me More : Digital Eyes to the Physical World for Early Childhood Learning Vijay E, Ruhi Sharma, Prasenjit Dey, Ravindranath Kokku, Satya Nitta
IUI 2017

March 13-16

Limassol Cyprus

VisualMath: An Automated Visualization System for Understanding Math Word-Problems Utkarsh Dwivedi, Prasenjit Dey, Nitendra Rajput, Blessin Varkey
LAK 2017

March 13-17

Vancouver, Canada

Studying engagement and performance with learning technology in an African Classroom (ACM DL) Juliet Mutahi, Andrew Kinai, Nelson Bore, Abdigani Diriye, Komminist Weldemariam


Steps towards wider availability:

2017-Sep-13 Elementary School Teachers Help Students Tackle Math With Help From the IBM Foundation and Education Leaders Press Release Blog
2017-Aug-28 Wallingford Public Schools using "Watson" technology / WTNH television wtnh  
2017-Aug-25 Doing Good in the Cognitive Era: The Power of Augmented Education info  
2017-Jun-06 IBM Watson and Sesame Workshop Introduce Intelligent Play and Learning Platform on IBM Cloud Press Release Blog 
2016-Oct-25 IBM Watson Education and Pearson to Drive Cognitive Experiences for College Students Press Release  
2016-Oct-19 Watson Element for Educators, part of Watson Classroom Press Release  


About our Research Objectives and Methods:


Recent advances in computer intelligence, interactivity and cognitive neuroscience hold major implications for impacting all forms of learning (formal-K-12, formal-higher-education, non-formal and informal).

IBM Research, as part of a broader IBM effort to invest in education transformation, had a broad, multi-disciplinary department at the intersection of cognitive computing, contextual analytics, adaptive interactivity and cognitive neuroscience which helped to define and explore this emerging area.  The team in the United States reported to Satya Nitta, PhD, and coordinated with ongoing sister teams in India and Kenya.

The Education and Cognitive Sciences Research department included both a neurosciences team as well as a significant technology team with team members working closely across both initiatives to share methods and principles. Further, the teams interacted with and partnered across IBM Research with other teams in big data analytics, security-privacy, cognitive computing, speech processing, video analytics, and neuroscience.

A new Education Research group will be launched in 2018, with less of a focus on cognitive neuroscience but with continued forus on novel learning experiences for both learners and faculty.  We will provide a link when that group's website is ready.


The focus of the cognitive neuroscience thrust was to develop a Research agenda to understand fundamental principles of cognition and build both an experimental and a theoretical agenda to further this field. We anticipated studying the learning of youth and adults with special cognitive conditions or in unusual out-of-the-classroom learning environments, but did not receive the grants we hoped for. Researchers with a focus on early childhood learning are still welcome to apply to the Watson Education business team in IBM.l

The technology initiative was conducted at the intersection of machine learning, analytics (BI and predictive), natural language processing and adaptive interactivity including emerging technologies like virtual and augmented reality, tangible user interfaces and haptics. The IBM Watson platform of technologies is used as the core platform, augmented with IBM's Cloud Data platform and SPSS platforms, and Open Source data platforms, and differentiating applications including some or all of these techniques were built to further the process of teaching and learning and evidence-based analysis of what works for what kind of learners.  Our solutions and pilots were informed by IBM Design Thinking.

The technology initiative had collaborators across a variety of skill areas including machine learning and natural language processing, game design and development, virtual and augmented reality programming, as well as UX design and development.

We had collaborations with a number of Faculty at US Universities, with first publications anticipated in mid-2018.



Some of our early results were included in the December 2015 issue, with the theme of Technologies for Education Transformation, of the IBM Journal of Research and Development

US K-12 School Districts can utilize some of our technology when they license IBM's Watson Enlight for Educators or Watson Element for Educators.

US Kindergarden to 5th Grade Mathematics teachers can utilize Teacher Advisor with Watson.


We had a collaboration with Sesame Workshop focused on personalized learning for young children. There is a teaser Youtube video about this work, and is mentioned as one aspect of IBM's multi-pronged effort to extend and expand Watson. See Cognitive Learning Goes to School with IBM and Sesame Street.  This work is continued by the IBM Watson Education research team. (Link will be added when ready)  

We collaborated with our partners to explore usage in other countries.  Here is a Podcast about Work in Africa.  Our senior manager Satya Nitta sat for a short video-interview with EDUCAUSE in July 2017 which you can watch at Video: 4 FAQs about Watson as a Tutor .