Fundamental Cognitive learning

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any prerequisites required to learn Cognitive computing?

No, there are no prerequisites to get started! All you need is a passion for technology and learning.

How do I get started with Cognitive?

The best way to start is by exploring the IBM Watson and Cognitive sites. Here you will find videos, demos, APIs, and helpful resources for starting your Cognitive journey. Sites



IBM Cognitive

IBM Research

Next, check out the fun educational challenges here in the Topcoder Cognitive Community. These challenges are designed to help you learn everything you need to compete in future Cognitive development challenges. New educational challenges launch every few weeks, so be sure to check back often.

Are there incentives to participate in the Cognitive challenges?

Yes! In addition to learning Cognitive, you will earn Cognitive Points for every challenge that you successfully complete and your Cognitive Points are always reflected on the leaderboard. The Topcoder Cognitive Community member with the most Cognitive Points at the end of August will win an all-expenses paid trip to the Topcoder Open 2017 (TCO17) finals!

What are the official rules for the Topcoder Open 2017 (TCO17) trip competition?

Cognitive Points
Every educational Cognitive challenge gives you an opportunity to earn Cognitive Points. Note that you can only earn Cognitive Points once for every educational challenge and paid challenges tagged with “IBM Cognitive” or “IBM Watson”.

All successful submissions for the educational / fun challenges will be awarded 500 cognitive points.

You may also earn Cognitive points by competing in prize-backed challenges that are tagged with “IBM Cognitive” or “IBM Watson”. The placement you earn in these challenges (non-F2F) will determine how many Cognitive points will be added to your total on the leaderboard:

1st place: 500pts
2nd place: 350pts
3rd place+: 100pts

For challenges tagged with “IBM Cognitive” or “IBM Watson” that are First 2 Finish challenges:

Winner: 250pts

Cognitive Leaderboard and Prize Schedule
All Cognitive Points earned between January 2017 and August 31, 2017 are eligible for the TCO17 trip. All challenges that start in August 2017 are counted.

After August 2017, the leaderboard will reset. All Cognitive Points earned between September 2017 and August 31, 2018 are eligible for the TCO18 trip prize.

After August 2018, the leaderboard will again reset. All Cognitive Points earned between September 2018 and August 31, 2019 are eligible for the TCO19 trip prize.

TCO Trip Prizes
The Topcoder Cognitive Community member with the most leaderboard points (on the “All” Leaderboard) at the conclusion of each prize period will win an all-expenses paid trip to the Topcoder Open, including airfare, lodging, ground transportation, and certain meals. More prize details will be presented to the winner upon confirmation. Winner must have participated and earned points in at least one fun/educational challenge.

Members may only win one trip to the TCO each year. If the Cognitive leaderboard winner has already won a trip to TCO through other Topcoder competitions, the Cognitive TCO trip prize will be offered to the next highest point scorer in line.

If there is a tie for first place, all tied members will compete in a final challenge. This challenge will be Cognitive-specific and reviewed to determine the winner, who will be awarded the TCO trip.

How do I create or extend my Cloud trial account?

Each Topcoder challenge forum page will give a special url link and instructions on how to either sign up for a new, or extend your existing Cloud trial account.

Once you register for a given challenge, you will be faced with three scenarios:

1) You do not have a Cloud trial account.
In that case, a 90-day free trial will be created on your behalf using your registration credentials. You will need to activate your account by clicking the link in the separate activation email sent to you from IBM Cloud.

2) You already have an on-going or current Cloud trial account.
You will be given a promo-code to extend its duration.
To enter the code:
1. Go to and log in to your account.
2. At the top of the page, there will be a dropdown showing the days remaining on your Cloud trial. Hover over and click “Add Promo Code”.
3. Paste the promo code in and click Ok.

3) You already have a Cloud account but:
1. It was a free trial that expired a while ago (over a year ago) and cannot be re-instated. Or,
2. You entered a credit card in at some point because it required you to do so and your Cloud trial account is now a “Pay-as-you-go” account.

We are not able to revert your account to a trial, nor can we delete it at this stage. The only way to get the free 90-day trial on Cloud is with a brand new trial account. You will need to sign up following the instructions posted on the forum for each specific challenge. To get this free trial, you must use a new/different email address. We are sorry for the inconvenience.


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