Feeds

Human overlord Watson lives in the 'clouds' now, in a $1bn cognition unit. Don't be afraid

IBM ploughs cash pile into new lucrative biz for supercomputer

Mobile application security vulnerability report

IBM has said that it wants to throw more than a billion dollars at powerful cognition overlord and Jeopardy!-playing human crusher Watson... so that the supercomputer can become a new business unit.

The Watson Group will be headed up by Big Blue's former senior veep of software solutions Michael Rhodin and will try to milk some more revenue out of the supercomputer that beat human competitors on the US quiz show three years ago.

Watson was designed to answer questions asked in natural language and make judgements based on its vast databanks, two of the most difficult tasks in creating computers that even approach artificial intelligence. Although the supercomputer fired up the public's imagination with its Jeopardy!-winning antics, IBM has appeared to struggle to find a way to turn the technology into a business.

IBM already announced in November last year that it was planning to make the tech available as a development platform in the cloud, so that application developers can come up with new apps using Watson's cognitive computing intelligence. The company is earmarking $100m of its investment to boost innovation in this cloud, which it calls the Watson Developers Cloud.

Big Blue said it has spent the last three years turning Watson from a game-playing supercomputer into a commercial technology. Watson now lives in the cloud, shrinking down from the size of a master bedroom to three stacked pizza boxes. The firm claims it's 24 times faster and has seen a 2,400 per cent improvement in its performance.

The Watson unit is hoping to have 2,000 people on the payroll by the end of the year, from the several hundred working there now. It will have its own HQ in New York's Silicon Alley district. The business has already acquired its first (public) customer in DBS Bank, an Asian financial services group. The group said it would use Watson to improve its clients' experience, starting with applying the supercomputer to its wealth management business to give better advice to affluent customers. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
THUD! WD plonks down SIX TERABYTE 'consumer NAS' fatboy
Now that's a LOT of porn or pirated movies. Or, you know, other consumer stuff
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
FLAPE – the next BIG THING in storage
Find cold data with flash, transmit it from tape
Seagate chances ARM with NAS boxes for the SOHO crowd
There's an Atom-powered offering, too
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.