publication date: Feb. 17, 2017
Audit: Lynda Chin’s abandoned $62 million IBM Watson collaboration didn’t follow standard procedures
By Paul Goldberg and Matthew Bin Han Ong
An audit of an abandoned mega-project run by IBM Watson and MD Anderson Cancer Center found that the Houston-based institution skirted the UT System’s procurement regulations as it spent $62.1 million on an ill-fated artificial intelligence system.
The review of the Oncology Expert Advisor Project by the UT System Audit Office was requested by the UT System Chancellor William McRaven.
The investigators focused exclusively on procurement related to development of the artificial intelligence system, which sought to guide clinical care and match patients with clinical trials.
The project, known as OEA, which was led by Lynda Chin, formerly a senior scientist at MD Anderson, who is married to the institution’s president Ronald DePinho, was terminated in September 2016, the report discloses. The system never went live, the report indicates.
At this writing, the detailed, 48-page report hasn’t been shared widely within MD Anderson. It can be downloaded here.
The report found that “the OEA project was not approved through established IT governance and did not follow required IT Governance processes.” Moreover, the contractors’ “invoices were paid in full regardless of whether contracted services were delivered as agreed upon.”
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