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IBM's Watson 'paints' poster for Wimbledon championships

Watson builds a mosaic for Wimbledon / AELTC

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) – the organisation behind the annual Wimbledon tournament – has further strengthened its relationship with IBM by allowing the tech firm's AI to art direct the poster celebrating its 150-year anniversary.

The final composition is a mosaic of the famous courts composed of 9,000 separate images from the Wimbledon photo archive. After a brief ‘teaching’ session, IBM Watson’s visual recognition interface combed through three terabytes of imagery – more than 300,000 separate images – to select the best photographs to feature in the poster.

IBM created another piece of software to stitch the pictures together into the final image.

Additionally, archive photos were matched specifically to their corresponding visuals in the main image – for instance, photos of ball girls were used to illustrate the ball girls in the poster. Watson was also taught to find elements within larger images that could be cropped out and included where necessary.

The AELTC hopes the cutting-edge art direction will demonstrate “how Wimbledon is never afraid to innovate in [its] own pursuit of greatness’.

IBM has been working with Wimbledon since 1990 in order to improve the experience of players, visitors and those who watch at home. Last year saw the tennis brand embrace video technology in order to take over from the BBC as the tournament's ‘lead broadcaster', as well as launch its own smart assistant dubbed Fred.

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