the most famous of all IBM supercomputers is IBM Watson. Watson is the latest
in the supercomputer line at IBM and it is paired with the DeepQA software.
The combination of the powerful supercomputer hardware and the DeepQA software
is what allowed Watson to crush the human competition on Jeopardy! earlier in
the year. IBM is now set to the task of selling Watson to other companies to
actually make some money off the technology. ExtremeTech reports
that one of the first uses for Watson in the tech world might actually be within IBM itself.
IBM may use Watson to answer sales questions about the company. Watson also has
applications in the medical field and with sales and telemarketing companies.
That raises the unwelcome notion of getting those sales calls that ask people
to wait for a representative to pick up only to find that Watson is the actual "salesman".
Watson is very good at answering questions provided the data is in its database.
The machine proved on Jeopardy! that it could handle
natural language questions without any problems. IBM also sees potential for
Watson in the online e-commerce market where a chat window with questions or
product issues could be answered by Watson.
Certainly, the biggest drawback to the IBM Watson system is the cost. IBM
hasn’t offered an exact cost figure for Watson, however, as ExtremeTech points
out, the hardware alone is tens of millions of dollars.
ten server racks with Power 750 servers, 2,880 processor cores, and 15TB of
RAM. Each of those Power 750 servers is $350,000 making the total for hardware
alone around $31.5 million.