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Inspiring Developers to Build With IBM’s Watson Services on Bluemix

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Given all of the excitement after World of Watson and Watson Developer Conference, I wanted to get a sense of what developers outside of North America think about cognitive computing and how they are using the Watson services on Bluemix. So I asked my good friend and colleague, Sandhya Kapoor to share some insights into what she has seen.

Sandhya Kapoor is a Senior Software Engineer and Cloud Solutions Architect here at IBM. She is almost always on the road, participating at conferences, meetups and hackathons and helping to enable developers. Luckily, I was able to get a few minutes of her time and here’s a sneak peek into our conversation:

Steve: Can you share a bit about the work that you have been doing lately?

Sandhya: Most recently my focus has been working with developers in the Java community to help them to understand how they can add cognitive functionality and value to their apps. It’s been a lot of fun and so I am happy for the opportunity to share the excitement I am seeing around the Watson services and Bluemix from European developers.

Steve: That is great to hear. So which groups have you been working with and in which countries?

Sandhya: Specifically, I have been working with Devoxx in the UK, Belgium, Netherlands and the US, as well as various Java user groups such as the NY Java Sig. It has been a great to get a collaborative effort between IBMers and members of the user groups on projects. We are showing how Watson services and Bluemix can support IoT apps built connecting to robots and an Amazon Alexa, and using things like Go, Node-Red as well as other APIs and services.

Steve: Sounds like you have been very busy? Can you tell us more about these projects and some of the events you have participated in? What are you hearing and seeing from developers?

Sandhya: In October, I presented a session “Cognitive Computing Exposed” at J-Fall 2016 in the Netherlands. It was diving deep into Recurrent Neural Networks! It was a very deep, technical topic, but it didn’t deter the audience. There were questions on how the target sequence of words are chosen based on encoding of the input sequence of words and sentences in a paragraph and more….. You can imagine the focus on learning the capabilities that Watson services bring to the forefront.

That session was preceded by a workshop on “Using Conversation APIs” provided to showcase how the complexity of deep learning algorithms have been hidden behind a set of REST APIs available on the public cloud.  I was encouraged from the discussions that I had with several startups at the IBM Booth there. I spoke with one entrepreneur who is using the AlchemyData APIs to discern social trends and will be using other Watson services coming in December to converse in Dutch.

Steve: It’s amazing to see what developers are creating leveraging the Watson services. What else have you been up to?

Sandhya: Last month, I spoke at the Devoxx Belgium Conference and presented a three-hour session “Deep Dive into Watson’s Neural Networks”, with Dr. Bowen Zhou, Chief Scientist, Watson and Dr. Arthur Kantor, Watson Researcher on Speech to Text Technology. I also participated in a session, “Deep Learning using Watson,” on the collaborative project between Devoxx and IBM leveraging the Watson services on Bluemix.

Steve: So what’s next?

Sandhya: Well, we are preparing for IBM’s Interconnect and Devoxx US, both coming up in March 2017. We are planning some new hands-on sessions, demos and labs to help give developers new things to play with and hopefully inspire some new collaborative projects with the user community. We will have more details available on IBM sessions, demos and more for both events soon. I hope people are registering to attend now. I hope to see as many old friends as possible but I also hope to meet some new friends.

Try the Watson services on Bluemix for yourself.

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