IBM Betting $1 Billion on Watson Supercomputer with New Business Unit
January 9, 2014 12:49 PM
The new unit will be located in New York City and will have 2,000 employees
Citing strong demand for cognitive computing, IBM has decided to create a new business unit specifically for its Watson supercomputer.
, the new unit will be called the IBM Watson Group and will be headed by Michael Rhodin, who was senior vice president of IBM's software solutions group.
IBM will be pouring $1 billion into the new unit, with $100 million of it as an equity fund to up innovation at Watson Developers Cloud.
The new unit will be located in New York City and will have 2,000 employees.
described the new venture as transforming Watson into a "Siri for business." Users will be able to ask Watson questions, such as medical diagnoses for diseases or the potential result of certain business decisions, and Watson will be able to give answers right away based on the specific set of parameters.
IBM will reengineer Watson to be deployed on Softlayer, which is the cloud computing firm IBM acquired for $2 billion last year.
"We have reached the inflection point where the interest is overwhelming and we recognized we need to move faster," said Stephen Gold, vice president of Watson Business.
Back in November, it was announced that IBM launched
"IBM Watson Developers Cloud,"
which provides app developers with an API and developer kit for the creation of third-party apps for Watson. The aim is to make apps that make use of Watson's cognitive computing abilities.
A month before that, IBM announced
two new Watson projects
aimed to specifically help the medical sector: “WatsonPaths” and “Watson EMR Assistant." WatsonPaths shows Watson's course of thinking -- from the initial question to how it arrives at an answer -- and aims to help medical professionals look at new ways of consuming medical information and thinking to arrive at the best treatment options. As for Watson EMR Assistant, it allows for a quicker and more thorough understanding of a patient’s electronic medical records.
For those who need a refresher, Watson is the supercomputer that beat human rivals on the
TV show "Jeopardy"
back in 2011. Watson has since worked in other fields like medicine and banking to offer better customer service.
"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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