Who is Westchester’s Smartest Person? His Name is Watson and He Resides in Yorktown Heights

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IBM Supercomputer’s Debut on Jeopardy Game Show Puts Spotlight on Westchester as ‘New York’s Intellectual Capital’

Who’s the “smartest person” in Westchester County?

“No doubt about it. His name is Watson and he resides in Yorktown Heights,” said Laurence Gottlieb, Director of the Office of Economic Development for Westchester County.

“Watson” is the name of the supercomputer developed at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights. Next week, Watson will match wits on the popular game show Jeopardy with former Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. The shows will be televised Feb. 14, 15 and 16.

“Westchester County is truly proud to be the home of Watson and all those brilliant minds at IBM who created this incredible supercomputer. The worldwide attention surrounding Watson’s upcoming appearance on Jeopardy spotlights Westchester’s reputation as home to a highly educated workforce where innovative companies like IBM are making breakthroughs in technology every day,” said Mr. Gottlieb, who is spearheading an innovative marketing campaign to position Westchester as “New York’s Intellectual Capital.”

Mr. Gottlieb said surveys show that 45% of Westchester residents over the age of 25 have a bachelor’s degree, with half holding postgraduate degrees. This puts Westchester among the smartest regions in the nation. He noted a recent survey of the ten “smartest” cities in America by Money Magazine which had Washington D.C. metro area ranked number one with 47% of residents over 25 holding a graduate or post graduate degree. “If Westchester County were included in the survey it would rank number two nationally, above New York City, Seattle, Boston and even Silicon Valley. It’s no surprise that IBM, along with a growing number of IT and biotech companies, are located in Westchester County,” he added.

Mr. Gottlieb said Westchester’s amazing brain power is evident not only in companies such as IBM but also in the county’s well-regarded school system. Last month, 19 Westchester students were selected as semifinalists in the prestigious Intel 2011 Science Talent Search. The students, who represented 6 percent of the 300 semifinalists selected nationwide, were honored at a reception held at the county office building by County Executive Rob Astorino. One of the students, Grace Phillips of Mamaroneck High School, was selected as one of the 40 finalists. The winner will be announced next month in Washington, DC.

“We wish the best of luck to Watson on Jeopardy and Grace Phillips in the Intel competition. Both represent why Westchester is New York’s Intellectual Capital,” said Mr. Gottlieb.

For more about New York’s Intellectual Capital, visit http://www.thinkingwestchester.com

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Dean Bender
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