IBM’s ‘Watson’ supercomputer explained for beginners

 IBM Watson is a super computer with artificial intelligence that makes it capable of ausweb questions baffled in natural language. It is named after IBM’s founder Thomas J.Watson. This computer system was specifically designed to answer quiz questions in Jeopardy!( Jeopardy! is an American television show featuring general knowledge based quiz competition ) and it successfully smashed humans in the game. The supercomputer won first prize of $1 million with its highly impressive replication ability to answer questions, just like humans.

How Watson Worked in Jeopardy

In the game Jeopardy! all players wait for the host to read the clue before answering. Once the clue is read, players must press buzzer button for winning the chance to respond. In case of Watson, the computer received clues as electronic texts, and as soon as it was ready with the answer, it activated the buzzer. Clues were provided to Watson at the same time when they were read to humans, but Watson continuously proved its efficiency to search the correct answers through its algorithms, and that too more quickly than humans.

Key Components

Watson accesses over 90 IBM Power 750 servers, 200 million pages of structured and unstructured data including full Wikipedia text exhausting 4 terabytes of disk storage, 2880 processor cores, 16 terabytes of RAM, Apache UIMA frameworks, Apache’s Hadoop, SUSE Enterprise Linux server, 11, 500 gigabytes of preprocessed information, and IBM’s DeepQA software. Watson processes at the rate of 80 trillion floating-point operations per second.

Technology and Future

Science behind Watson is its aptness to understand and learn natural language which brings machines closer to human beings. One superlative character of Watson supercomputer is that it works on feedback and learns from its own experiences for the future improvement like humans learn.

IBM announced an investment of more than $1 billion to create the Watson Group, a new business division to promote the supercomputer’s commercial use. It will soon be introduced in health care system, shopping malls, and more. Watson can transform health-care by complete and accurate diagnostics.

As per a recent estimate, one in five patients is diagnosed inappropriately, Watson can help medicine to make processes more efficient as it leaves no space for human error. Watson can help banks for solving financial challenges by its better analyses and error solving skills. Similarly Watson can be introduced to many fields where intelligence and accuracy is required.

Good Reads

  • Smarter Than You Think – What Is I.B.M.’s Watson?
  • IBM Watson: How the Jeopardy-winning supercomputer was born, and what it wants to do next


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