A Supercomputer You Can Afford: What Is Watson?
IBM making a smarter version of our robot overlord available online
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Nov 14, 2013 7:00 AM CST
"Jeopardy!" champions Ken Jennings, left, and Brad Rutter, right, flank a prop representing Watson during a practice round of the "Jeopardy!" quiz show in Yorktown Heights, NY, Jan. 13, 2011.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

(Newser) – Bar trivia contests will never be the same. IBM will today announce a plan to make a more powerful version of its famous Watson supercomputer available online at a sliver of what access to the system has cost, the New York Times reports. Of course, the goal isn't really to help you hustle the guys at Jim's Pub, or give Ken Jennings a nervous twitch. Jeopardy is just a hobby for Watson, a powerful learning system with applications ranging from medicine to computational linguistics. One sample usage case, from the Times: Watson can compare one patient's data to thousands of textbooks, clinical trials, and journal articles and deliver to his doctor suggested tests, patient questions, and treatments.

The announcement comes the same week Amazon held a conference touting its own cloud-based supercomputing offering, Amazon Web Service—and in an impressive bit of trolling, IBM hired buses to circle the conference bearing Watson ads. But the events serve to highlight the growing field's potential. One conference participant boasted that it had used AWS to complete in 18 hours a project that would have taken 264 years using one server. "This is the start of a shift in the way people interact with computers," an IBM VP says.

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Showing 3 of 8 comments
spacemonkiee
Apr 14, 2015 2:35 AM CDT
Ewcfr:4%*4'drrw
Ezekiel 25:17
Nov 30, 2013 12:56 PM CST
I absolutely swear my Afghan born, possibly Al Queda linked new physician uses something like this to make diagnoses. I'm waiting for word from insurer to transfer to a different PPO clinic. This guy, Muhammad something, is the worst I have ever seen. Give me an India trained physician any day as this guy is 30-seconds over Abu Dabi. What made him worse that bad is the talked to his wife on two occasions during his exam time with me. It went like, "Yes, ok, go ahead and buy orchestra seats to Le Mis and be sure to buy meet and greet reception also." Then he turned and asked, "What are you here for?" I said, "I believe a checkup." What meds do you take, "The same ones I've taken for 10 years issued by this clinic and listed on the page I handed you when you walked in."
gomer99
Nov 14, 2013 1:45 PM CST
" Watson can compare one patient's data to thousands of textbooks, clinical trials, and journal articles and deliver to his doctor suggested tests, patient questions, and treatments." I find this breathtakingly astounding. In 1974, I worked on a project to develop a "diagnostic computer system" for hospitals. We were (obviously) unsuccessful -- actually, some success, but not much beyond normal "look it up" work. But with SUPER high speed and a FAST web connection, there seem to be no limits. Need to see it in common use.