IBM Watson is the supercomputer of the International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation, named after the company’s founder Thomas J. Watson. This supercomputer is built with the ability to answer questions – like in a ‘question answering’ machine. The fact that answering a question is more complicated (especially for computers) than pointing to a set of relevant answers, like a search engine does, was definitely the biggest challenge; IBM only came out more successful and it could defeat the best human brains of the television show – jeopardy!
Watch how IBM Watson took the game away from the two highest ranked jeopardy players here.
IBM Watson – A Deeper Investigation
Watson is that supercomputer in which, artificial intelligence teams up with much-sophisticated analytical software which helps its answer questions. One significant reason why it’s able to show such abilities is because the IBM Watson uses natural language processing (NLP), machine learning and automated reasoning to answer questions which a general desktop computer doesn’t. Here’s a look at the hardware aspects that make these possible:
- Enterprise Linux Server 11
- A total of 2880 processor cores.
- 15 Terabytes of RAM.
- IBM’s DeepQA software.
- Size: Covers a space that can accommodate 10 refrigerators. [Source: Whatis.com]
In all means this configuration is by far the most advanced available, and hats-off to the entire IBM research team for using all of it to empower the IBM Watson Supercomputer.
Watson’s Strengths and Results:
This supercomputer which can think similar to a human being has the following strengths:
Watson can understand, analyze and answer even those questions which are posed in the usual human languages (natural languages) not just with speed and accuracy but also with a degree of confidence.
Watson doesn’t simply answer questions based on keyboards, instead generates hypothesis based on evidence.
Watson is not the end! According to us the best thing about Watson is that it can be taught. It learns with user interactions and keeps itself abreast of what’s going on.
Though it initially occupied an entire master sized bedroom, it’s shrinking more and more and is now 90% smaller than that featured in the “Jeopardy!” television show.
Since its launch, Watson has helped developed over 6000 apps of great value.
Anyways, the biggest achievement of this IBM supercomputer is that it could defeat two of the best “Jeopardy!” Players in 2011, and has always kept improving since then.