March Madness Challenge Series With IBM Watson

IBM Watson entered my headspace not through the professional computer science route, but because it beat Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter at Jeopardy in 2011. For an amateur trivia buff, this was surely an achievement to sit up and take notice of. Later in 2012, in an online course in Natural Language Processing (NLP) I wrote a Jeopardy program and got an insight into how it involved a combination of hand-crafting and systems thinking.

When jcori asked me last December if I wanted to co-pilot for IBM Cognitive, one of my ideas involved the NBA, as I keenly follow most sports around the world. (Ok, but not baseball or ice hockey.) Last month he asked me if I could work the NCAA theme around March Madness, and I readily agreed. An American friend has told me about how everyone follows college basketball, in 2018 I joined that crowd thanks to Topcoder. (The human brain apparently has no storage limitation when it comes to sports facts and statistics). I also managed to introduce my love of music into the contest titles; even though top seed Virginia got knocked out early, Villanova won the NCAA title and I could still make a poor pun with ‘V are the champions’.

In the March Madness series, I wanted to focus on both Watson Discovery and Watson Natural Language Understanding Services (NLU). My aim was to make each contest more complex than the previous and progressively build expertise. The third contest introduced combinatorics; the fourth, a version of Jeopardy. As I was the reviewer also, I could see first-hand the growth in skill levels in the submissions of Dheeraj2202 and Obog, who shared the top honours in all the four contests.

Dheeraj pointed out that one of the references I had included in the fourth contest was a  2016 profile of Father Rob Hagan, Villanova’s associate athletic director, and so it was not strictly about the current tournament. This article turned out to be meta, in it, Father Rob mentions watching Jeopardy on TV.

 

Could not participate and want to revisit the interesting series?

Here is the list of challenges:

  1. March Madness Series – Sweet Little Sixteen
  2. March Madness Series – Lazing on Selection Sunday

  3. March Madness Series – Fab Four

  4. March Madness Series – V are the champions

What’s next?

We have an interesting Challenge series on Movie Reviews starting soon! You can find the series at cognitive.topcoder.com. Looking forward to seeing you compete in the series!

KShiv

Topcoder Cognitive Community copilot