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January 20, 2012

IBM plans to push Watson to finance and medical markets

IBM has revealed more of its plans to turn its Watson supercomputing platform into a viable business offering, outlining several of the industries where it believes it can find a market for the system.

Manoj Saxena, IBM's general manager for Watson, explained that the firm is set to target industries that generate and collect huge volumes of data as its core markets for the tool, including finance, telecoms and healthcare.

IBM will use Watson to go after the Big Data markets. The Watson version that won the TV Show Jeopardy can analyze 200 million documents in three seconds.




"The healthcare industry jumped out as one of the first areas we will look to market Watson, as information in the medical world is doubling every five years so it’s getting ever harder for staff to find the data they need," he said.

Saxena added that the capabilities of Watson would be vital for businesses that are struggling to keep up with the huge amounts of unstructured data being created and stored, which is as high as 80 per cent in some organisations.

"We will look at Watson as a line in computing where it advanced from standard computing to the ability to use reasoning on the information it can access to provide better insights," he said.

He also gave some details into the technology behind Watson, explaining it is powered by 2,880 processing cores, 90 IBM P750 servers, has 16TB of memory and 80 teraflops of computing power.

This means the system is able to analyse the entire data of 200 million documents in three seconds.

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