Watson isn’t just a character out of a novel. It’s a massive computer designed by IBM to play Jeopardy and play it well. Following in the foot steps of Deep Blue IBM’s Watson is going to go toe to toe against the champions of the game. Whats particularly interesting about this is that while Deep Blue was a custom designed computer Watson is a series of standard servers but with custom software. Not to totally suck the spectacle out of it Watson is also a robot with a trigger finger. It’s finger doesn’t rest on a trigger though but a button set to light up the podium center stage on Jeopardy. So what sort of hardware is Watson made of?
90 IBM Power 750 Servers
Thats 16 Terabytes of Memory
360 Processors at 3.5Ghz by 8 cores each for 2880 cores total.
Total processor bandwidth is 180,000 Gigabytes a second.
4 Terabytes of clustered storage.
IBM is pretty forth coming in regards to the hardware. You can find a link here with all the details.
They aren’t so forth coming about the software. It’s called DeepQA and it’s where the magic happens. The applications for a computer that can translate written human English this well is virtually never ending. Which means Watson just isn’t about winning Jeopardy but turning the DeepQA software in to something usable in as many different sectors as possible. There isn’t much more to write until IBM releases some publically available versions of DeepQA so with out further adieu here’s the video!
As a disclaimer I am an IBMer so I’m obligated to root for Watson. As a geek I would have any way so there is no conflict of interest there!