watsonx gen AI Challenge

Connecting academic knowledge and real-life use cases using generative AI

During this course, students will be able to put their theoretical knowledge into practice with hands-on use cases focusing on generative AI technologies. For the project, they will work in groups of 3 to 5 people. Together, they choose between one of several real-world business challenges from a company, tackle that use case, and present their solution at the end of the semester. Not only will students learn to work with generative AI tools and cloud services, but also how to efficiently and effectively combine them into a system. This is a cross-university course and will be offered at five universities simultaneously. Mixed groups are possible. 

The semester is split into 2 parts: In the first part, there will be lectures to present the students with the necessary knowledge while the second part gives the students the time to specifically work on the project together. Q&A sessions will be offered to support the teams.  

Requirements: Technical affinity is required. Coding experience and experience with generative AI is not needed, but helpful. Experience with client projects and requirements engineering is helpful but will be addressed in a lecture.  


Our partners


PostFinance is one of Switzerland’s leading financial institutions and is a reliable financial partner for around 2.5 million private and business customers. They offer their customers fresh solutions and smart innovations.


Twerenbold is an independent, family-owned and operated group of companies with specialized tour operators. They offer authentic travel experiences in all facets – be it by coach, on river or cruise ships, by plane, by bike, or on foot. 


For three decades, Freitag’s bags have stood not only for design and functionality but also for the resource-saving use of materials and durability. For some models, they combine used truck tarp with recycled PET textile or B-stock airbags and they even offer a circular smartphone protective sleeve made of worn-out ski boots. 

Swiss armed forces

Three tasks – one goal: Security for our country. The Swiss Armed Forces defend our country and its people against a military attack. Additionally, they contribute to national and international peace by participating in peacekeeping missions and providing humanitarian assistance. 


Victorinox is a global company with five product categories: Swiss Army knives, household and professional knives, watches, travel gear and fragrances. Their level of quality has allowed Victorinox to become a leader in Switzerland and the rest of the world. 

Komax Group

The Komax Group is the world market leader in automated wire processing. In addition to production systems, quality assurance, test equipment and networking solutions come from a single source. 

Zweifel Pomy-Chips AG

Logo Zweifel

Zweifel Pomy-Chips AG is a renowned Swiss company specializing in the production of snacks and potato chips. As the market leader with a substantial 55% market share in 2021, Zweifel is a key player in the Swiss snack industry. 

Hirslanden AG

Logo Privatklinikgruppe Hirslanden

The Hirslanden Group is Switzerland’s largest private hospital group and synonymous with quality and excellence. For over 25 years they have enjoyed an outstanding reputation as one of the leading private healthcare providers worldwide. They cover a huge variety of specialist disciplines and deliver the highest standards in medicine care.

SIX Group

Logo SIX Group

SIX operates the infrastructure for the Swiss and Spanish financial centers, catering to a broad, international client base. They provide services relating to securities transactions, the provision of financial information and banking services.


Logo Phoenix

Phoenix has built the Swiss Sovereign Cloud, driving the digital transformation for Switzerland’s future generations, allowing them to run, modernize and innovate critical applications with sensitive data. Built on enterprise-grade hardware, they offer a highly automated, efficient and sustainable cloud solution with kvant, ensuring control over mission-critical workloads.

The events

Each lab session takes 2h and are here to make students familiar with the IBM cloud and with each service (Watsonx.ai, watsonx.data etc.). Also, more complex tasks using these services will be shown to provide the students with the necessary foundation for their project use cases.

Have a look at labs from last year’s Chatbot Challenge! Content obviously changes but intent stays the same.

27.02.2024 | 6:15 pm - 8:15 pm

Welcome Event 

General introduction, goals and expectations, Apero (aperitive) and networking 

05.03.2024 | 6:15 pm - 8:15 pm

Introduction to generative AI in business

Technical overview, use cases, and challenges of generative AI 

12.03.2024 | 6:15 pm - 8:15 pm

Large Language Models and their use cases 

Watsonx.ai overview & technical lab deep dive 

19.03.2024 | 6:15 pm - 8:15 pm

Chatbots and user interaction 

Watson Assistant overview & technical lab deep dive 

26.03.2024 | 6:15 pm - 8:15 pm

Foundations of a successful AI project 

Requirement engineering and Design Thinking for AI projects 

09.04.2024 | 6:15 pm - 8:15 pm


Watson Discovery and Neuralseek overview 

16.04.2024 | 6:15 pm - 8:15 pm

Technical Deep Dive 

Generative AI: Transformers, GPT, training, deployment. embeddings, vectors 

23.04.2024 | 6:15 pm - 8:15 pm

Midterm Presentations 

Presentation of current state of project 

30th April 2024 | 6:15 pm - 8:15 pm

Integration Possibilities 

Overview of possibilities and specific integration examples 

7th May 2024 | 6:15 pm - 7:15 pm


We’re here to support you with your questions; Questions to be handed in beforehand 

14th May 2024 | 6:15 pm - 7:15 pm


We’re here to support you with your questions; Questions to be handed in beforehand 

21th May 2024 | 6:15 pm - 7:15 pm


We’re here to support you with your questions; Questions to be handed in beforehand 

28th May 2024 | 6:15 pm - 8:15 pm

Final presentation 1

Final Group Presentation of Solution 

29th May 2024 | 6:15 pm - 8:15 pm

Final presentation 2

Final Group Presentation of Solution 


Final Event

Rüschlikon LAB Tour for challenge winner groups 


Thank you for your interest in the IBM watsonx gen AI Challenge 2024. We reached our maximum capacity of 100 registrations. If you want a spot on the waiting list or cancel your registration, please write an email to: dean.heizmann@ibm.com

The registration is binding after February 26th, 2 pm

Our team

Rilindjone Muhadri
Ecosystem Sales Operations

Valerie Grossenbacher
Global Sales



Alessandro Tarantino
Associate Strategy & Digital Transformation Consultant

Elena Ottinger
General Management

Laura Schulz
Data&AI Sales

Nicolas Kohler
Infrastructure Sales

Moreno Heini
Strategy Consultant

Douglas Orsini-Rosenberg
Data Science Consultant

Michael Gede
Customer Success Manager Data & AI Architect

Dean Heizmann
Data&AI, IBM
Antonina Maltseva
Junior Technology Partner Specialist, IBM

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