Watson is an artificial intelligence computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language.
Developed by IBM.
What is Watson : Follow the story of the development of Watson from a modest DeepQA machine to a formidable Jeopardy! contestant. Watch the videos below to see how Watson represents a leap forward in data analytics and how this technology will impact business and industry.
The Science Behind an Answer....
The challenge in building a computer system like Watson lies in developing its ability to understand the language of a clue,
register the intent of a question,
scour millions of lines of human language, and return a single, precise answer - in less than three seconds.
Find out what is going on inside the Watson mainframe to accomplish this feat.
“We all want to know the right answers to questions. And it isn't the same thing as searching for possibilities or options, which we do everyday."
The game of Jeopardy! makes great demands on its players – from the range of topical knowledge covered to the nuances in language employed in the clues.
Can the analytical power of a computer system – normally accustomed to executing precise requests – overcome these obstacles?
Can the troves of knowledge written in human terms become easily searchable by a machine in order to deliver a single, precise answer?
Can a quiz show help advance science?
“IBM is not in the entertainment business. But we are in the business of technology and pushing frontiers.”
A System Designed for Answers....
Operating on a single CPU, it could take Watson two hours to answer a single question.
A typical Jeopardy! contestant can accomplish this feat in less than three seconds.
For Watson to rival the speed of its human competitors in delivering a single,
precise answer to a question requires custom algorithms,
terabytes of storage and thousands of POWER7 computing cores working in a massively parallel system.
Watch to find out how building smarter systems like Watson involves optimizing hardware and software into a solution greater than the sum of its parts.
“The POWER7 system is tuned for very rapid deep analytics of massively parallel problems.”
The Next Grand Challenge...
Over the last century, IBM has reached numerous scientific breakthroughs through its commitment to research and its tradition of Grand Challenges.
These Grand Challenges work to push science in ways that weren’t thought possible before.
Jeopardy! The IBM Challenge poses a specific question with very real business implications:
Can a system be designed that applies advanced data management and analytics to natural language in order to uncover a single,
reliable insight — in a fraction of a second?
“We look at areas where there's an enormous gap in current capability and use that as a challenge. We call them Grand Challenges.”
Preparing Watson for the Jeopardy! stage posed a unique challenge to the team:
how to represent a system of 90 servers and hundreds of custom algorithms for the viewing public.
The result? A dynamic visual avatar based on the smarter planet icon. A speaking voice that clearly pronounces a vast vocabulary.
And an answer panel that reveals the system’s top responses and confidence levels. Watch the video to find out more about each of these elements
“There's a pattern here. It’s random, chaotic but it’s all based on data generated by Watson as it plays the game.”
Watson was optimized to tackle a specific challenge: competing against the world’s best Jeopardy! contestants.
Beyond Jeopardy!, the IBM team is working to deploy this technology across industries such as healthcare, finance and customer service.
“This really is a transforming technology, and when we leverage the capabilities of Watson is when we will see real innovation.”
After competing against the two greatest Jeopardy! champions of all time,
the technology behind Watson will now be applied to some of the world’s most enticing challenges.
Watch the video for a breakdown of the match from the IBM team members as they look toward the future.
Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter also weigh in about the accomplishment.