IBM hopes its Watson will become doctor's sidekick | Minnesota Public Radio News

IBM hopes its Watson will become doctor’s sidekick

by Elizabeth Stawicki, Minnesota Public Radio

June 13, 2012
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — Remember Watson, the IBM supercomputer which made headlines last year by trouncing the top two contestants on the TV game show, Jeopardy?

Watson’s million-dollar prize went to charity and now Big Blue is seeking gainful employment for Watson other than as a professional game show contestant.

Today, IBM’s chief medical scientist visited a Minneapolis hospital to talk about how Watson’s artificial intelligence could help doctors wade through loads of research data and apply that knowledge to treating patients.

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Dr. Martin Kohn, chief medical scientist at IBM Research, talks about how supercomputer Watson might be used in the health care industry Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. Watson is IBM’s artificial intelligence computer system most famous for winning the quiz show Jeopardy. (MPR Photo/Jennifer Simonson)

ibmdeepblue15:

May 11, 2012 marks the 15-year anniversary of IBM’s chess-playing supercomputer, Deep Blue’s victory over a reigning world chess champion. IBM Research scientist Dr. Murray Campbell, one of the original developers, talks about the challenges and breakthroughs of building Deep Blue. See on YouTube.

High Performance Computing: The New Imperative is Economic Development and Jobs « A Smarter Planet Blog
Manish Parashar Professor of electrical and computer engineering Rutgers University
For years, universities have worked with businesses to produce joint research and educational programs. But these days there’s a new imperative: we must create collaborations aimed at producing economic development and jobs. At Rutgers, we see these sorts of public-private partnerships not only as a tremendous opportunity for our students and faculty, but as critical resource for New Jersey.
Rutgers announced just such and effort today at a small celebration on the university’s Busch Campus in Piscataway. We’re working with IBM to create a new high-performance computing center, Rutgers Discovery Informatics Institute (RDI2), focused on the application of “Big Data” analytics in life sciences, finance, and other industries.  The goal is to improve the economic competitiveness of New Jersey’s public and private research institutions.
The centerpiece is a IBM Blue Gene®/P supercomputer that we’ve named “Excalibur,” playing off our sports mascot, the Scarlet Knight. In addition to gaining access to the hardware and an impressive array of software and technical support, Rutgers faculty members and graduate students and technical people from New Jersey companies will be able to work with IBM scientists and engineers on joint research projects.

High Performance Computing: The New Imperative is Economic Development and Jobs « A Smarter Planet Blog

Manish Parashar
Professor of electrical and computer engineering
Rutgers University

For years, universities have worked with businesses to produce joint research and educational programs. But these days there’s a new imperative: we must create collaborations aimed at producing economic development and jobs. At Rutgers, we see these sorts of public-private partnerships not only as a tremendous opportunity for our students and faculty, but as critical resource for New Jersey.

Rutgers announced just such and effort today at a small celebration on the university’s Busch Campus in Piscataway. We’re working with IBM to create a new high-performance computing center, Rutgers Discovery Informatics Institute (RDI2), focused on the application of “Big Data” analytics in life sciences, finance, and other industries.  The goal is to improve the economic competitiveness of New Jersey’s public and private research institutions.

The centerpiece is a IBM Blue Gene®/P supercomputer that we’ve named “Excalibur,” playing off our sports mascot, the Scarlet Knight. In addition to gaining access to the hardware and an impressive array of software and technical support, Rutgers faculty members and graduate students and technical people from New Jersey companies will be able to work with IBM scientists and engineers on joint research projects.

What is… Watson?
Just a year ago, a supercomputer called Watson changed forever how we imagine machine intelligence.
(via Sean Kelly Studio)

What is… Watson?

Just a year ago, a supercomputer called Watson changed forever how we imagine machine intelligence.

(via Sean Kelly Studio)

Largest-Ever Simulation of the Universe Revealed - Technology Review
The latest computer model of the cosmos involves 400 billion particles in a box about two thirds of the volume of the universe 
… Today, Juhan Kim at the Korea Institute for Advanced Study in Seoul,  and a few pals, show just how far this technique has come. These guys  have carried out the largest simulation of the universe ever undertaken,  consisting of 374 billion particles in a box some 10 gigaparsecs  across. That’s roughly equivalent to about two thirds the size of the  observable universe.
This took some 20 days of computing time on the Tachyonii  supercomputer in Korea, the 26th fastest in the world in the last set of  rankings.

Largest-Ever Simulation of the Universe Revealed - Technology Review

The latest computer model of the cosmos involves 400 billion particles in a box about two thirds of the volume of the universe

… Today, Juhan Kim at the Korea Institute for Advanced Study in Seoul, and a few pals, show just how far this technique has come. These guys have carried out the largest simulation of the universe ever undertaken, consisting of 374 billion particles in a box some 10 gigaparsecs across. That’s roughly equivalent to about two thirds the size of the observable universe.

This took some 20 days of computing time on the Tachyonii supercomputer in Korea, the 26th fastest in the world in the last set of rankings.

The Future of Computing — Reuniting Bits and Atoms

via itspogilvy:

IBM’s big data helps Vestas wind turbines crank | CNET News
A wind farm in North Dakota
(Credit: Google )
In a classic pairing of IT and renewable energy, an IBM supercomputer  will optimize placement of wind turbines to improve performance.

IBM’s big data helps Vestas wind turbines crank | CNET News

A wind farm in North Dakota

(Credit: Google )

In a classic pairing of IT and renewable energy, an IBM supercomputer will optimize placement of wind turbines to improve performance.

IBM - SyNAPSE: a cognitive computing project from IBM Research 
Beyond machines
For more than half a century, computers have been little better than  calculators with storage structures and programmable memory, a model  that scientists have continually aimed to improve.
Comparatively, the human brain—the world’s most sophisticated  computer—can perform complex tasks rapidly and accurately using the same  amount of energy as a 20 watt light bulb in a space equivalent to a 2  liter soda bottle.
Cognitive computing: thought for the future
Making sense of real-time input flowing in at a dizzying rate is a  Herculean task for today’s computers, but would be natural for a  brain-inspired system. Using advanced algorithms and silicon circuitry,  cognitive computers learn through experiences, find correlations, create  hypotheses, and remember—and learn from—the outcomes.
For example, a cognitive computing system monitoring the world’s  water supply could contain a network of sensors and actuators that  constantly record and report metrics such as temperature, pressure, wave  height, acoustics and ocean tide, and issue tsunami warnings based on  its decision making.

IBM - SyNAPSE: a cognitive computing project from IBM Research

Beyond machines

For more than half a century, computers have been little better than calculators with storage structures and programmable memory, a model that scientists have continually aimed to improve.

Comparatively, the human brain—the world’s most sophisticated computer—can perform complex tasks rapidly and accurately using the same amount of energy as a 20 watt light bulb in a space equivalent to a 2 liter soda bottle.

Cognitive computing: thought for the future

Making sense of real-time input flowing in at a dizzying rate is a Herculean task for today’s computers, but would be natural for a brain-inspired system. Using advanced algorithms and silicon circuitry, cognitive computers learn through experiences, find correlations, create hypotheses, and remember—and learn from—the outcomes.

For example, a cognitive computing system monitoring the world’s water supply could contain a network of sensors and actuators that constantly record and report metrics such as temperature, pressure, wave height, acoustics and ocean tide, and issue tsunami warnings based on its decision making.

Watson Supercomputer Terminates Humans in First Jeopardy Round
Source: Wired

IBM supercomputer Watson closed the pod-bay doors on its human competition Tuesday night in the first round of a two-game Jeopardy match designed to showcase the latest advances in artificial intelligence. The contest concludes Wednesday.
By the end of the Tuesday’s shellacking, Jeopardy’s greatest champions, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, were sporting decidedly sour looks.
Watson had a near-miss at the end of the game, when it incorrectly answered the Final Jeopardy clue, but when the dust settled, the supercomputer had earned $35,734, blowing out Rutter and Jennings, who had earned $10,400 and $4800, respectively.
That final missed clue puzzled IBM scientists. The category was US Cities, and the clue was:  “Its largest airport was named for a World War II hero; its second largest, for a World War II battle.”
Rutter and Jennings both correctly wrote “What is Chicago?” for O’Hare and Midway, but Watson’s response was a baffling “What is Toronto???” complete with the additional question marks.
How could the machine have been so wrong? David Ferrucci, the manager of the Watson project at IBM Research,explained on the company’s blog that several things probably confused Watson, as reported by Steve Hamm:

Watson Supercomputer Terminates Humans in First Jeopardy Round

Source: Wired

IBM supercomputer Watson closed the pod-bay doors on its human competition Tuesday night in the first round of a two-game Jeopardy match designed to showcase the latest advances in artificial intelligence. The contest concludes Wednesday.

By the end of the Tuesday’s shellacking, Jeopardy’s greatest champions, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, were sporting decidedly sour looks.

Watson had a near-miss at the end of the game, when it incorrectly answered the Final Jeopardy clue, but when the dust settled, the supercomputer had earned $35,734, blowing out Rutter and Jennings, who had earned $10,400 and $4800, respectively.

That final missed clue puzzled IBM scientists. The category was US Cities, and the clue was:  “Its largest airport was named for a World War II hero; its second largest, for a World War II battle.”

Rutter and Jennings both correctly wrote “What is Chicago?” for O’Hare and Midway, but Watson’s response was a baffling “What is Toronto???” complete with the additional question marks.

How could the machine have been so wrong? David Ferrucci, the manager of the Watson project at IBM Research,explained on the company’s blog that several things probably confused Watson, as reported by Steve Hamm:

Turns out IBM’s Watson is not a supercomputer! - Stephen Baker
Talking to a friend at IBM last night, I learned that Watson, technically speaking, is not a supercomputer. This was a bit disconcerting to me, since I refer to it as one a couple times in the book (which comes out as an ebook on Wednesday).
Without getting into a long discussion of MIPs and Petaflops, two points: As I understand it, broadly speaking there are two types of supercomputers. The traditional kind, which is important for jobs like modeling the bending of proteins and the blasts of atomic bombs, requires insane amounts of mathematical calculations. Watson is definitely not one of those.The second kind is more like the Google computer. It’s called “data-intensive supercomputing.” In Google’s case, it involves clusters of commodity computers working in concert to process the chaos of unstructured data that you find on the Web. Watson is closer to this model. Its specialty is words. (Here’s a 2007 paper on it by Randall Bryant, head of the computer science dept at Carnegie Mellon. That paper started me on a path that led to a BusinessWeek cover story I wrote on Google’s cloud.)The Watson you’ll see playing Jeopardy on Feb 14, 15, and 16 runs on a cluster of IBM Power 7 servers, and it features 2,880 processing cores. I guess by today’s standards, that unit can’t handle enough calculations per second to qualify as a supercomputer. (Here’s a piece with more of the technical specs.)

Turns out IBM’s Watson is not a supercomputer! - Stephen Baker

Talking to a friend at IBM last night, I learned that Watson, technically speaking, is not a supercomputer. This was a bit disconcerting to me, since I refer to it as one a couple times in the book (which comes out as an ebook on Wednesday).


Without getting into a long discussion of MIPs and Petaflops, two points: As I understand it, broadly speaking there are two types of supercomputers. The traditional kind, which is important for jobs like modeling the bending of proteins and the blasts of atomic bombs, requires insane amounts of mathematical calculations. Watson is definitely not one of those.

The second kind is more like the Google computer. It’s called “data-intensive supercomputing.” In Google’s case, it involves clusters of commodity computers working in concert to process the chaos of unstructured data that you find on the Web. Watson is closer to this model. Its specialty is words. (Here’s a 2007 paper on it by Randall Bryant, head of the computer science dept at Carnegie Mellon. That paper started me on a path that led to a BusinessWeek cover story I wrote on Google’s cloud.)

The Watson you’ll see playing Jeopardy on Feb 14, 15, and 16 runs on a cluster of IBM Power 7 servers, and it features 2,880 processing cores. I guess by today’s standards, that unit can’t handle enough calculations per second to qualify as a supercomputer. (Here’s a piece with more of the technical specs.)

Final Jeopardy: Can a Machine Think?
Source: ReadWriteWeb
In early April of 1990, I was a contestant on Jeopardy. If you were  watching back then, I was the “Supercomputer Programmer from Aloha,  Oregon” who won three games and $38,000 and then lost - badly - in the  fourth. So there’s quite a bit of personal history tied in with the news  last week that a supercomputer from IBM, called Watson, had beaten two all-time Jeopardy! winners, Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings, in a practice round for the three-day charity competition on Feb. 14, 15 and 16.
A few weeks ago, I predicted that Jennings would win, Watson would place a close second and Rutter would place third in the overall contest,  and I’m sticking with that prediction in spite of Watson’s first-place  finish in the practice round last week. When I put on my handicapper’s  hat, the scores of the practice round - $4,400 for Watson, $3,400 for  Jennings and $1,200 for Rutter - are consistent with my assessment that  Jennings and Watson are evenly matched and that Rutter is unlikely to  win.

Final Jeopardy: Can a Machine Think?

Source: ReadWriteWeb

In early April of 1990, I was a contestant on Jeopardy. If you were watching back then, I was the “Supercomputer Programmer from Aloha, Oregon” who won three games and $38,000 and then lost - badly - in the fourth. So there’s quite a bit of personal history tied in with the news last week that a supercomputer from IBM, called Watson, had beaten two all-time Jeopardy! winners, Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings, in a practice round for the three-day charity competition on Feb. 14, 15 and 16.

A few weeks ago, I predicted that Jennings would win, Watson would place a close second and Rutter would place third in the overall contest, and I’m sticking with that prediction in spite of Watson’s first-place finish in the practice round last week. When I put on my handicapper’s hat, the scores of the practice round - $4,400 for Watson, $3,400 for Jennings and $1,200 for Rutter - are consistent with my assessment that Jennings and Watson are evenly matched and that Rutter is unlikely to win.

Why IBM’s Watson Is Smarter Than Google | Huffington Post

Stephen Baker

While working on my book about IBM’s Jeopardy-playing computer, the most common question I encounter is this: Doesn’t Google already answer questions?

The short answer is no. Google depends on our brains in two ways: It gets us to think like a computer when formulating our query, picking three or four words that will make most sense to the machine. Then it directs us to the neighborhood of the answer we’re looking for, but leaves it to our infinitely more nuanced brains to find exactly what we’re looking for there.

Watson, which will face off against two Jeopardy legends, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, in February, has to handle all that work by itself. It must decipher complex English, hunt down possible answers, choose one, and decide if it has enough confidence to bet on it.

Here’s an example: “When 60 Minutes premiered, this man was U.S. president. That’s a tough one for a computer. It has to understand what “premiered” means and that it’s associated with a date. Then it has to figure out the date when an entity called 60 Minutes premiered, and then find out who was U.S. president at that time. In short, it requires a ton of contextual understanding — or a statistical simulation of it — and then two different hunts, one for the date, the second for the president.

Once Watson has a list of possible answers (or “responses,” as they call them on Jeopardy!), it has to figure out which one merits the most confidence, and if it’s sure enough of the answer to place a bet on it. All these takes place in about 3 seconds. (By the way, the answer is Lyndon Johnson.)

(Read the rest on Huffington Post)

 'Jeopardy!' to pit human champs against IBM computer - CNN.com
The iconic game show announced Tuesday that it will pit Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, its all-time most successful contestants, against “Watson,” an IBM computing system, in a series of battles next year. The showdown, to be aired February 14-16, will feature two matches to see if a machine can compete in a contest that will require it to interpret real-language questions (or, in “Jeopardy!” parlance, answers), research them and answer quicker than the flesh-and-blood champs. “After four years, our scientific team believes that Watson is ready for this challenge based on its ability to rapidly comprehend what the ‘Jeopardy!’ clue is asking, analyze the information it has access to, come up with precise answers, and develop an accurate confidence in its response,” David Ferrucci, the scientist leading the IBM Research team that has created Watson, said in a written release. 

 'Jeopardy!' to pit human champs against IBM computer - CNN.com

The iconic game show announced Tuesday that it will pit Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, its all-time most successful contestants, against “Watson,” an IBM computing system, in a series of battles next year. The showdown, to be aired February 14-16, will feature two matches to see if a machine can compete in a contest that will require it to interpret real-language questions (or, in “Jeopardy!” parlance, answers), research them and answer quicker than the flesh-and-blood champs. “After four years, our scientific team believes that Watson is ready for this challenge based on its ability to rapidly comprehend what the ‘Jeopardy!’ clue is asking, analyze the information it has access to, come up with precise answers, and develop an accurate confidence in its response,” David Ferrucci, the scientist leading the IBM Research team that has created Watson, said in a written release.