Every so often, it helps to take a Whoa, cool! break -- you know, a moment to reflect on technology that pushes the envelope and restores a sense of wonder to the broader IT conversation (which, let's face it, can get pretty stodgy).
Right now, IBM's Watson supercomputer has our attention in advance of its upcoming debut on the game show Jeopardy! The 80-teraflop machine will go button-to-button with veteran Jeopardy! champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. What's the big deal? No other computer has ever managed to overcome the challenge of comprehending natural language, and preparing Watson for the big match hasn't exactly been a walk in the park. Does the project have applications beyond TV game shows? Well, imagine being able to ask a computer any question and get the exact answer you need, rather than 7,000 search results (and then imagine what that means for, say, business analytics). Yeah, cool.
Should Watson win, it will no doubt raise even more questions -- like what does a supercomputer do with an all-expense-paid trip to Acapulco?
Until next week,
John Swanson and the developerWorks editorial team
This week's top features on developerWorks:
- Cloud business analytics: Write your own dashboard (Cloud computing)
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- db2university.com: Get started designing, configuring, and deploying on the cloud (Information Management)
- Scripting the Linux desktop: Basics (Linux)
- Dojo from the ground up: Get started with Dojo development (Web development)
- Configuring WS-Security for JAX-RPC web services in WebSphere Process Server V7 (WebSphere)
- Create three-level taxonomy modeling strategies using W3C XSD and OASIS CAM (XML)