IBM Watson

International Business Machines (IBM) is one of the biggest names in the IT sector. It has been around for a little over a century (Since 1911!) and has made innumerable, revolutionary technological advancements (like Magnetic Stripe Technology, Computing Cheese cutting scale, LASIK Eye Surgery, Universal Product Codes, Checkin Time Clock, Automated Test Scoring, Scanning Tunneling Microscope, etc.)


IBM Watson


IBM has been at the forefront, in the field of AI research & development.

1. In the 1950s, Arthur Samuel developed a machine that played Checkers and learned from experience.

2. In 1973, IBM built its first robot that was capable of assembling 22 of the 25 pieces in the rail support, of a then current model of an IBM typewriter.

3. In 1983, IBM developed the Rs 1. Its arm could move at a top speed of 40 inches per second, and it could perform a variety of manufacturing operations (like precision assembly).

4. For the past few years, IBM has been working on an advanced piece of technology called Watson.


About Watson

Watson is a supercomputer (named after IBM’s founder Thomas J. Watson), which It was at first intended to be equipped for noting questions postured in the native dialect.

Watson processes at a speed of 80 teraflops (trillion floating- point operations per second). To replicate (or even surpass) an advanced human’s capacity to answer questions, Watson gets to 90 servers with a joined information store of more than 200 million pages of information, which it forms against six million rationale rules. The device and its information are independent in a space that could suit ten refrigerators!


Key Components

1. Apache Unstructured Information Management Architecture frameworks and other elements to analyze vast amounts of unstructured information.

2. Apache Hadoop (A framework for processing large data sets)

3. SUSE Enterprise Linux Server 11

4. 15 TB or RAM

5. 2880 processor cores

6. 500 GB of pre- processed information

7. IBM DeepQA software for information retrieval, machine learning natural language processing.



In order to showcase Watson’s Abilities, there was an event held where Watson competed against 2 top ranking players of Jeopardy. Watson ‘sat’ between the other 2 contestants (while it’s bulk resided on a different floor of the building). Like the other 2 contestants, Watson did not have Internet access.

Watson demonstrated it’s ability for comprehending complex wordplay and its machine learning algorithm allowed Watson to learn from its previous incorrect answers and to be informed for future responses.

By the end of the event, Watson was awarded First place in Jeopardy.


The Future of Watson

Every day, IBM develops various APIs to make Watson proficient in a variety of fields. There are many new uses, being found every day.

A few already developed capabilities of Watson, are as below:

1. To provide legal counsel

2. Recipe generation platform

3. Music/Movie suggestion platform

4. Weather Forecasting System

5. Movie/Book Character analysis

6. To predict potential future events in TV series by analysis of past episodes.

7. Clinical Decision Support System



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