IBM Watson: A new era in data analysis
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IBM Watson, developed at IBM's Thomas J. Watson research center in New York, is a non-traditional, cognitive system. Cognitive systems like Watson can transform how organizations think, act, and operate in the future. What makes IBM Watson different?
IBM Watson employs artificial intelligence and uses natural language to communicate
IBM Watson answers questions that require analyzing large amounts of data, along with complex thought processes and decision making. Traditional computer systems can analyze large amounts of data, but the processing that they perform is relatively simple and repetitive, such as statistical analysis and payroll processing. IBM Watson answers questions that require correlating input from multiple sources, forming hypothesis, drawing conclusions, 'learning' from the analysis, and narrowing down results. For the resulting answers, IBM Watson also provides the probability that each is correct.
IBM Watson interacts in the human paradigm rather than the computer paradigm. IBM Watson understands the spoken English language. IBM Watson responds in English as well, using a synthesized British male voice. IBM Watson understands puns, double meanings, and implications often present in human speech.
IBM Watson works on unstructured input data. Most of the computer data available throughout the world is unstructured, such as publications and e-mail. Also, many types of data are structured, but in different formats, making comparison cumbersome and inefficient. The total quantity of data is increasing at a rate of approximately 70% per year. The ability to analyze unstructured and structured data is essential in order to obtain knowledge and draw conclusions from this data. Given how much data already exists but has not been analyzed by a cognitive system, there is the potential for vast improvements in how we perform tasks and meet our challenges.
Use of IBM Watson
IBM Watson systems are used in these general areas:
1. Finance - analyzing securities transactions, handling large volume information about investments, providing projections in real time. In this case, the ability to interact in English and provide quick results is vital.
IBM Watson hardware and software
IBM Watson consists of a large cluster of IBM POWER 7 servers. This configuration enables IBM Watson to perform many tasks in parallel, to minimize the time that it takes to analyze data and compute results.
IBM Watson runs these software elements:
This combination of hardware and software enables IBM Watson to perform its computations in a highly parallel manner.
Theresa Elmendorf Web Content Enablement Specialist, IBM System x, BladeCenter and Flex Systems, working remotely from Poughkeepsie, New York. Long-time technical writer and recently transitioned to a support content specialist, Theresa was originally a programmer on various IBM operating systems and licensed program products. Theresa was also a technical writer in the areas of: Clusters, Linux on IBM System z, and the PCI-X and PCIe cryptographic coprocessors. A movie of her life would be called “Cats, cats, and more cats”. Twit