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The University of Southampton
Global Network for Anti-Microbial Resistance and Infection Prevention

Using Cognitive Computing to help tackle Antimicrobial Resistance

Our researchers are developing a Cognitive computing facility to act as a 'network assistant' to our researchers. It will help identify knowledge gaps and potential synergies and collaborations.

What is Cognitive Computing?

Cognitive computing offers us fundamental differences in how systems are built and interact with humans. Cognitive-based systems, such as IBM Watson, are able to build knowledge and learn; understand natural language; and reason and interact more naturally with human beings, much better than traditional systems.

To find out more about Cognitive Computing, read the online article in Forbes Leadership and listen to Radio 4 Programme 'Thinking Machines'.

How we plan to use Cognitive Computing

IBM Watson
IBM Watson - A Cognitive Computer System

We will be using the IBM Watson system as well as other cognitive computing software to integrate ideas and information from the wide range of diverse disciplines and extensive data that are needed to address the challenges of Antimicrobial Resistance. Cognitive computing systems will be used to suggest novel areas to bring together experts to envisage new ways of tackling Antimicrobial Resistance.

One illustration of IBM Watson's ability to integrate information is in the treatment of cancer. In the same way that IBM Watson helps oncologists make better informed treatment decisions, IBM Watson will help inform our research into Antimicrobial Resistance.

Next steps

Currently the University of Southampton is in negotiation with IBM over the details of the Watson offering available for researchers and we expect to finalise the details by end of 2015.


Gary Wall as part of his Theory and Modelling in Chemical Sciences (TMCS) Centre for Doctoral Training project undertook an Initial trial of the system and a short interview with him can be viewed here.

We are beginning to assemble the suitable material to ‘teach’ Watson the basic underlying science relevant to Antimicrobial Resistance.

NAMRIP member Professor Jeremy Frey, Professor of Physical Chemistry

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