Introduction to IBM Watson

IBM Watson
YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY – JANUARY 13: A general view of IBM’s ‘Watson’ computing system at a press conference to discuss the upcoming Man V. Machine “Jeopardy!” competition at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center on January 13, 2011 in Yorktown Heights, New York. (Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)

The computer Watson was a form of artificial intelligence that was developed by IBM. It is able to answer questions and was named after the first CEO of the company.

The computer system is able to be programmed so it can respond to questions in the native language of the users.

In 2011, this computer was featured on the game show Jeopardy. It was put against two of the top competitors and the computer took first place.

In 2013, Watson’s software was used in the lung cancer center at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center located in New York City.

Around 90 percent of the nurses at this center follow the instructions that are given to them by Watson.

Watson Software

The software that is used in the Watson system is DeepQA and it used the Unstructured Information Management Architecture framework.

This system allows Watson to answer questions in several different languages including the computer language Java C + + and Prolog.

The computer runs on the Suse Linux Enterprise Server, and it also uses the Apache Hadoop framework to find the answers to questions quickly.

Hardware in Watson

This system is very powerful and is used to help generate a hypothesis, quickly gather the needed information, and analyze the data that was found. Watson has a customer power server by IBM which is the Power 750 series.

It has an 8-core processor and there are four threads for each core. It has an incredible 16 terabytes of RAM. Watson is able to process up to 500 gigabytes of information a second which is the equivalent to a human processing a million books per second.

It is estimated that the software that is used to operate Watson is worth 3 million dollars.


Watson is given access to a vast option of different mediums for information. Watson is able to access a dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedias, and works of literature to get its knowledge.

Watson can access online databases, taxonomies, ontologies, and a number of other internet-based programs in order to access information.

Watson was also preloaded with millions of information documents and references as well as the capabilities to access information.

Development of Watson

IBM was looking for a way to stand out when it came to technology and its development. In 2004, the developers were watching a game of Jeopardy and they saw Ken Jennings on a winning streak. It was his 74th appearance on the show.

The staff wanted a challenge and they thought that a smart computer system would be perfect. They went to work developing this system and they wanted something that would work instantly.

Over the next couple of years, the developer worked hard to quicken the processing speed. By 2010, Watson was ready to go and ready to face off against humans.

Watson is able to access over 200 million pages of information and is able to process this information within a couple of seconds. Watson was developed with the help of graduate students from top universities as well.

Watson Vs. The Human

Watson went on this popular game show and took on Jenning as well as another champion named Rutter. Watson ended up beating both of the humans and all of the computer’s winnings were donated to a charitable organization. The other winners also donated part of their winning to charity.

Watson Against Congress

Watson went in a Jeopardy-like competition against members of the United States House of Representatives. Rush D. Holt Jr. was able to bear Watson.

Future Technology

IBM is not done developing technology. They are always looking for ways to improve technology and make Watson even better.

They are looking at the use of Watson to help with legal research. They are also looking to use Watson for telecommunications as well as financial services.

IBM is working with other technology companies as well to help develop apps that use this technology. They are reviewing over 400 business ideas for Watson in 43 countries. There are many uses for new technology and it is further being developed.

Watson was the first real artificial intelligence to go against humans and is being improved upon to be used in many different applications.

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