Deadline: December 1, 2016 | Register here
1st place – USD 3,000,000
2nd place – USD 1,000,000
3rd place – USD 500,000


The IBM Watson AI XPRIZE is a four-year competition with annual milestone competitions in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

It is a $5 million competition, challenging teams globally, to develop and demonstrate how humans can collaborate with powerful AI technologies to tackle the world’s grand challenges.

The prize aims to accelerate adoption of AI technologies and spark creative, innovative and audacious demonstrations of the technology that are truly scalable and solve societal grand challenges.

To encourage innovation in any form, the competition is an open challenge in AI. Rather than set a single, universal goal for all teams, this competition will invite teams to each declare their own goal and solution to a grand challenge.

Typical of all XPRIZE competitions, the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE will crowdsource solutions from some of the most brilliant thinkers and entrepreneurs around the world, creating true exponential impact.


Grand Prizes

The $3,000,000 Grand Prize, $1,000,000 2nd Place, and $500,000 3rd Place purses will be awarded at the end of competition at TED2020, for a total of $4.5 million.

Milestone and Special Prizes

Two Milestone Competition prize purses will be awarded at the end of each of the first two rounds of the competition, and the Judges may award additional special prizes to recognize special accomplishments. A total of $500,000 will be available for these prizes and will be allocated by the Judges for special accomplishments.


Teams will use their best available resources, along with the crowdsourced expertise of the professional AI community, to develop a comprehensive grand challenge competition plan.

Each team will then demonstrate progress toward and achievement of that plan over the course of a four-year competition culminating in a Grand Prize Competition on the TED 2020 stage in front of a live in-person/online audience.

A panel of expert judges and the onsite/online audience will crown a Grand Prize Winner and determine two runners up.

XPRIZE will solicit crowdsourced expert reviewers from the professional AI community to discuss the Application Summaries in detail with the teams and XPRIZE. This community of reviewers will be a resource to teams as they develop their applications into complete plans.

Evaluation and judging criteria

Solutions will be evaluated based on their technological advancement, creativity and their potential importance/benefit to humanity and the potential of the AI solution to meaningfully address the grand challenge.

Solutions will be evaluated against their potential exponential impact or shift and scalability. Acceptance to continue in the competition will be based on the completeness of the competition plan the team submits, the audaciousness and utility of the proposed solution, and the comprehensiveness of the test suite.

Teams will be measured by the standards they themselves set with the help of their reviewers. Entries must include:

  • Grand Challenge Goal – This is the grand challenge that the teams are choosing to address with their AI solution and how they intend to address it. The goal will be evaluated by the judging committee to ascertain its importance/benefit to humanity and the potential of the AI solution to meaningfully address the grand challenge.
  • Proposed Solution – Each plan will include a detailed explanation of the approach the team will use to achieve its proposed goal. Teams may include explanations of technological approaches and development pathways. Teams will also propose milestones they need to achieve towards their goal. These milestones will need to be approved by the evaluating committee for teams to be selected.
  • AI-Human Collaboration – Teams must explain how their proposed AI tool will work with humans to achieve the desired results and address the grand challenge.
  • AI Technologies – Plans must include a detailed explanation of the team’s approach to AI. What functions does the technology perform? What kind of technology are they employing? And how will they themselves validate and test their technology as well as evaluate success?
  • Test Suites – Teams must propose their own systems for testing and assessing the quality of their AI technologies and advancements.
  • Annual Milestone Plan – Competition plans must include what teams propose to demonstrate at each of the Milestones and at the final demonstration from the TED stage.

Who can participate?

XPRIZE believes that solutions can come from anyone, anywhere. Scientists, engineers, academics, entrepreneurs, and other innovators with new ideas from all over the world are invited to form a team and register to compete.

In order to participate, a team may need to recruit additional experts and can add new members at any time throughout the competition. Competing teams will own the Intellectual Property of their submissions.

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