Engineer receives 2016 IBM Faculty Award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Conrad Tucker, whose work with virtual and augmented realities has been gaining national publicity, was recently named a recipient of the 2016 IBM Faculty Award.

Tucker, an assistant professor of engineering design and industrial engineering, was selected for the award based on his proposal titled, “Big Data in Health Care and IBM Watson’s Ability to Mine It.”

“This research will explore the feasibility of using IBM’s Watson technology to mine large-scale, publicly-available health data in order to assist both patients and health care professionals when making decisions,” said Tucker, who is also an affiliate faculty member of computer science and engineering.

IBM Watson is a technology platform that uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of unstructured data. According to the IBM website, Watson reveals insights by analyzing unstructured data, understanding complex questions, and then presenting answers and solutions.

“Because of this research, IBM will gain new knowledge about the real-world accuracy of Watson in serving as a health care decision support system,” said Tucker. “Additionally, researchers will understand the impact of different data types and sources on the recommendations made by Watson.”

If successful, “this project will serve as the foundation for real-time training and simulation of patient-physician interactions,” added Tucker.

Tucker has selected Kevin Lesniak, an industrial engineering doctoral student, to work with him on this project.

“Kevin’s expertise includes the design and optimization of virtual and augmented reality solutions, which is well aligned with the goal of enabling IBM Watson to serve as a health care decision support system,” said Tucker.

The ultimate goal of this project is to extend the processes and knowledge gained through this research to engineering design and education.

“The Penn State World Campus is ranked number 1 for its online bachelor’s degree programs by U.S. News & World Report,” explained Tucker. “However, many of the STEM programs are difficult to replicate in online environments, thereby constraining students who may be distance learners, such as military personnel or professional students. This project has the potential to mitigate these challenges by making the process of learning in online environments more immersive and interactive through IBM’s Watson decision support system.”

Presented by the company’s Global University Programs program, the IBM Faculty Award is a highly competitive worldwide program intended to foster collaboration between researchers and those in IBM research, development and services organizations, and promote curriculum innovation to stimulate growth in disciplines and geographies that are strategic to IBM.

The award is presented to faculty based on the quality of their work and its importance to the technology industry. 

Conrad Tucker has been named a recipient of the IBM Faculty Award based on his research proposal titled, “Big Data in Health Care and IBM Watson’s Ability to Mine It.” Credit: Paul HaziAll Rights Reserved.

Last Updated October 24, 2016