IBM: Making Machine Learning and AI Accessible

Watson Warriors

An experiential experience

Watson Warriors is an interactive game competitions designed to win the hearts and minds of data scientists from around the world.

The goal of the experience is to educate and evangelize the power of IBM's Watson AI stack.

IBM had a problem

Resonating with future data scientists

IBM and the advantages of Watson were not effectively evangelized and not in enough conversations. This was especially true when it came to emerging businesses and college campuses, both strategic targets for IBM. Watson is the gold standard and IBM needed it to be recognized as such.

Vintage IBM magazine ad

IBM needed to shift this perception and get Watson (and therefore IBM) in the most relevant conversations among current and future tech workforces. Watson and IBM needed to be showcased at the decision makers' table.

Making IBM cool

A gamified marketing platform

Developed in partnership with TechData and IBM, Launch dreamed up Watson Warriors, an interactive data science experience that leverages the power of Watson AI. Launch’s team of experts immersed themselves in all things Watson: the software, the hardware (Power9 ac922), the accelerator (WMLA), and data from the Weather Company - resulting in a live-game event that pits seasoned and budding data scientists against each other to effectively solve problems using Watson AI and Power9 hardware.

IBM Watson web page on a laptop

Game time

A marketing event like no other

Watson Warriors logo

With historical weather data supplied by The Weather Company, combined with a comprehensive dataset of all wildfires in the U.S between 1992 and 2015, players compete head-to-head in a series of challenges that step through the development of a wildfire prediction model. From creating a project and connecting to a GitHub repo, to leveraging the V4 tool to train a model that can distinguish images of smoke from fog, these challenges highlight the advantages of Watson AI that make a data scientist’s work more productive.

Watson Warriors competitors

The game interface is a reactive web-hosted application that connects directly to a Watson Studio environment, so actions players make using Watson Studio tools are reflected and scored in real-time - and displayed on a global leaderboard for all players to see.

Data for good

At the Beta Event in Seattle, players navigated a series of nine data science challenges that leveraged a massive dataset supplied by the Weather Channel. This data helped players build, improve, and deploy data science models at scale to solve macro problems, specifically designed to prevent forest fires.

Watson Warriors competitors using laptops at a table

Taking the show on the road

Or maybe not…

Like most plans in 2020, the Watson Warriors roadshow was derailed by COVID-19. Despite the change of course, the team’s resilience prevailed, and the entire experience was shifted to online and virtual events within a matter of days.

Watson Warriors roadshow mockup

Watson Warriors events continued without missing a beat.

Winning hearts and minds

Watson Warriors was a huge success and showcased the power of IBM Watson in a fun and educational way. Whether in person or online, the game illustrated the advantages of Watson, making machine learning and AI concepts accessible to players of all backgrounds and experiences.