Have you ever wondered how we could provide tourists in Amsterdam with the best experience? Now is your chance to develop ideas, business cases and real prototypes of Watson to answer all questions tourists have.

The Watson Innovation course is a collaboration between the Vrije Universiteit, University of Amsterdam and IBM. It offers a unique opportunity to learn about IBM Watson, cognitive computing and the meaning of such artificial intelligence systems in a real world and big data context. Students from Computer Science and Economics faculties will join their complementary efforts and creativity in cross-disciplinary teams to explore the business and innovation potential of such technologies.


The Watson Innovation course is primarily for Computer Science and Business related students from the Vrije Universiteit and University of Amsterdam. The course takes place from 9th of November 2015 until 22th of January 2016, and rewards 6 ECTS. The registration is closed as we have reached the maximum number of students that can participate. You can still apply for the waiting list in case a spot opens up. Please apply by contacting Benjamin Timmermans via b.timmermans@vu.nl and include your student number, current study and a short motivation.


The course runs from 9th of November 2015 until 22th of January 2016, with a break during Christmas. There will be lectures and practicals at both VU and IBM locations. The detailed planning will be available through VU blackboard.

Mon 9 Nov15:30 – 17:15Cognitive Computing
Thu 12 Nov15:30 – 17:15Cognitive Computing
Mon 16 Nov15:30 – 17:15Amsterdam Use Case
Thu 19 Nov15:30 – 17:15IBM Watson and Developer Cloud
Mon 23 Nov15:30 – 17:15Corpus Training and Testing
Thu 26 Nov15:30 – 17:15Question-Answering
Mon 30 Nov15:30 – 17:15IBM Design Thinking
Thu 3 Dec15:30 – 17:15IBM Ideation
Mon 7 Dec15:30 – 17:15Business Plan Development
Thu 10 Dec15:30 – 17:15IBM Bluemix
Mon 14 Dec15:30 – 17:15Business Plan (cont.)
Thu 17 Dec15:30 – 17:15Q&A Feedback
21 Dec – 7 JanNoneApp Development and Christmas Break
Mon 11 Jan15:30 – 17:15Q&A Feedback
Thu 14 Jan15:30 – 17:15Finalizing App and Business Plan
Mon 18 Jan15:30 – 17:15Final Presentations
Fri 22 Jan17:00 – 18:45App showcase to clients

Frequently Asked Questions

What reading material is advised for the course?
What is IBM Watson?
Building Watson: An overview of the DeepQA project
CrowdTruth papers

Do I need programming skills for the course?
You will be working in a multidisciplinary team. This means that as a Computer Science student your main focus is the app development, while as a Business student the business plan.

Will we work with a real version of IBM Watson?
Yes. You will have a unique chance to work with the IBM Watson Engagement Advisor in our private Watson instance.

How can I contribute as a business student?
In the course you will explore the business and innovation potential of Watson, and develop an idea to a business plan supported with a real app.

Is this a Bachelor or Master course?
It is a Master course (level 400), but bachelor students in their second year or higher are welcome to join.

Does this course count for my study program?
No, this is an extracurricular course. You can request a course to be part of your study program through your exam committee. This is not possible for bachelor students, as it is officially a masters course.

Is the course in Dutch?
No. All lectures, practicals and Watson itself are English.

What is CrowdTruth?
CrowdTruth is an award winning research project of the Vrije Universiteit, IBM Netherlands and IBM New York. The project initiated in 2012 by providing multi-perspective gold standard text annotations for the training and evaluation of various IBM Watson components. The researchers behind CrowdTruth will be teaching most of the lectures.