Australian calculates way to IBM Watson AI XPRIZE

TEAM MachineGenes, led by artificial intelligence (AI) developer and mathematician Nigel Greenwood, has beaten 624 other international teams to make it to round two of IBM Watson’s XPRIZE.

The IBM Watson XPRIZE is a global competition that challenges teams to develop and demonstrate how humans can collaborate with AI to tackle the world’s challenges.

Dr Greenwood, who is based in Brisbane, has risen to this challenge to show how his new form of AI can be used for many purposes, although he and his team are currently focussing on both helping people with Type 1 diabetes and keeping aviation turbine engines operating at optimal capacity.

“My patented AI can be used for personalised medicine - it can understand how each person is unique and can recommend the best insulin dosage to keep the patient’s blood glucose levels under control,” Dr Greenwood said. 

In silico trials conducted in conjunction with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research have demonstrated my technology could be extremely successful in controlling blood glucose levels for people with ‘brittle’ diabetes.

“It has the potential to reduce greatly the risk and severity of hypoglycaemic and hyperglycaemic events for people with diabetes.”

The same technology is also being used by Dr Greenwood’s team to demonstrate another world-first capability, for AI to understand the health of aviation engines in a way that is currently impossible.

One of the world’s top-three engine manufacturers was were so impressed by the diabetes work that it has begun part-funding the engine demonstration. While confidential, the arrangement would be with either GE, Rolls-Royce, or Pratt & Whitney.

Dr Greenwood said both medical and engineering work, a key source of frustration is the difficulty in getting suitable investment, with Australian venture capitalists reluctant to invest in deep transformative technologies.

“International recognition of my work is bittersweet as it comes at a time when it appears inevitable that my technology, a globally new kind of AI, will be forced to leave Australia,” Dr Greenwood said.

The IBM Watson AI XPRIZE is a four-year competition with annual milestone competitions in 2017 and 2018. The top three finalists will compete for the grand prize of $5 million at TED 2020.


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