Skip to content

IBM Provides Watson Supercomputer to University

January 30, 2013

By Gilbert Falso :: 4:12 PM

Rensselaer receives IBM SupercomputerIBM today announced that they will be providing a version of their Watson supercompter, the same computer that rose to fame by winning the Jeopardy game show, to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), a technical university in upstate New York.

RPI will be the first higher education institution to receive such a computer from IBM.  The modified number cruncher (some specifications are changed from the model that was actually on Jeopardy) will enable the school to conduct cutting-edge research, and IBM will encourage faculty and students to help Watson deepen its cognitive capabilities.

Watson’s strength has been in its unique ability to understand the nuances of human language, pour through vast amounts of data, and provide evidence-based answers to user queries Watson’s computing power is currently being applied to fields such as healthcare, where IBM is collaborating with medical providers, hospitals and doctors to analyze patient history and the latest medical literature to help physicians make faster, more accurate diagnoses. IBM is also working with companies in the financial sector to help improve and simplify the banking experience.

The computer features 15 terabytes of storage, and allows for 20 campus users to access the system at once. Along with professors and graduate students, RPI will also allow undergraduate student to have an opportunity to work directly with the Watson system.

“Access to the Watson system will enable new research in cognitive computing as it relates to a diverse range of scientific and engineering fields, and the experience of working on Watson will give our students an advantage as they compete for the best jobs in Big Data, analytics, and cognitive computing,” said a spokesperson for RPI, located in Troy, NY, a suburb of the state capital, Albany.

Watson is the latest in a series of collaborations between IBM and the institution, which have worked together for many years in the areas of high-performance computing, nanoelectronics, advanced materials, and artificial intelligence. The computer will be housed at RPI’s Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations.

Below – video from RPI about Watson’s announcement: