Roster of 147 Teams Announced in $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE

Teams from 22 Countries Competing in Global Competition to Tackle Today’s Biggest Challenges Using Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Computing

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–XPRIZE, the global leader in incentivized prize competitions, today announced that 147 teams representing 22 countries are advancing in the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, a four-year global competition to develop and demonstrate how humans can collaborate with powerful artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges. This is XPRIZE’s first “open” competition, wherein teams defined their own goals and will create AI applications that solve some of humanity’s most pressing challenges across a variety of fields.

Competing teams are developing AI technologies to address problems across a number of domains, with some teams focusing on solutions that may leapfrog these domains, or challenge underlying assumptions about AI, including teams focusing on encoding human ethics within AI, imbuing AI with human social norms, and utilizing AI to understand human emotional cues.

Other teams will focus on domain-specific solutions, such as:

  • Health & Wellness — Managing hypertension, preventing mental health problems, analyzing an infant’s crying for quick diagnoses and understanding, and improving sleep.
  • Learning & Human Potential — Pupil modeling that reinvents learning to code, personalized learning, peer-to-peer tutoring system, and a scalable learning app to improve literacy where classrooms do not exist.
  • Civil Society — Addressing information distortion in social media, and building a legal information aid for victims of domestic violence.
  • Space & New Frontiers — Developing neurologically-inspired models, and modeling scientific knowledge to propose new hypotheses.
  • Shelter & Infrastructure — Recommending infrastructure development by building social development models from satellites, predicting disasters, managing traffic flows in cities, and assessing the structural health of buildings.
  • Energy & Resources — Increasing energy efficiency to reduce greenhouse gas output, a “smart” landfill that automatically separates recyclables from waste, and monitoring the distribution of life from satellite.
  • Planet & Environment — A honeybee monitoring device that translates buzzing into hive health recommendations, and an agriculture intelligence system for small farmers in developing countries.

The IBM Watson AI XPRIZE’s independent panel of experts verified the teams who will move forward onto the next phase. Competing teams hail from the United States, Canada, Australia, Barbados, China, Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Vietnam.

Details about all of the competing teams are can be found here.

“This XPRIZE competition ignited an impressive number of teams from all over the globe, and we look forward to seeing how they will push AI and cognitive computing towards new innovations that solve problems across industries and demonstrate how AI can be used as a tool for good,” said Amir Banifatemi, prize lead for the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE.

The competition launched in 2016, and teams had until March 1, 2017 to submit a detailed development and testing plan for their proposed solution. Next, verified teams will compile a progress report by September 1, 2017 that presents specific evidence of their path forward in achieving the goal they prescribed. The judges will conduct a formal review of the reports, and will identify the teams who will move on to the next round, to be announced in January 2018.

In addition, the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE includes a Wild Card round, an opportunity for new teams with groundbreaking ideas to enter the competition in progress, that will open on August 1, 2017 and teams will have until December 1, 2017 to submit a detailed development and testing plan for their proposed solution.

There will be two subsequent rounds of selection each fall in 2018 and 2019, and the competition will culminate in three finalists participating in the Grand Prize competition on the TED2020 stage in front of a live in-person and online audience. Teams will be judged based on the standards they set in their plans, as well as the performance and scalability of their AI application, with the heaviest weight placed on the potential for solutions to achieve an exponential impact.

A $3M Grand Prize, $1M Second Place prize and $500K Third Place prize will be awarded to the teams that receive the top scores, with the final winner determined based on the results of the live in-person and online audience voting during TED2020. Additionally, $500K Milestone Prizes will be awarded to 10 teams during fall 2018 and 2019.

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XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. XPRIZE utilizes a unique combination of gamification, crowd-sourcing, incentive prize theory, and exponential technologies as a formula to create exponential impact in the grand challenge domains facing our world. Active competitions include the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE, the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, the $1.75M Water Abundance XPRIZE and the $1M Anu & Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE. For more information, visit

About IBM Watson: Pioneering a New Era of Computing

Watson represents a new era in computing called cognitive computing, where systems understand the world in a way more similar to humans: through senses, learning, and experience. Watson continuously learns from previous interactions, gaining in value and knowledge over time. With the help of Watson, organizations are harnessing the power of cognitive computing to transform industries, help professionals do their jobs better, and solve important challenges.

As part of IBM’s strategy to accelerate the growth of cognitive computing, Watson is open to the world, allowing a growing community of developers, students, entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts to easily tap into the most advanced and diverse cognitive computing platform available today. Watson solutions are being built, used and deployed in more than 45 countries and across 20 different industries.

For more information on IBM Watson, visit: Join the conversation at #ibmwatson.