IBM decided it was time for its Watson supercomputer to start contributing to the wellbeing of mankind instead of just winning knowledge games.
Watson showed its mettle by winning a game of Jeopardy!
against two human champions.
Now, servers like the ones that powered Watson during the Jeopardy! contest will help the doctors from the Cedars-Sinai research hospital in Los Angeles.
This Watson will be smaller than the previous one, since
there will no longer be such a great need for accessing terabytes of data all at once.
During the game, speed of response was essential, but researchers can do with slightly longer times before the responses to their queries are given.
It also helps that a more compact HPC application is easier to maintain and power.
“Where Watson really lends itself to solving problems is information rich opportunities and the information is changing constantly and in various forms, structure and unstructured coming from disparate systems. Healthcare fits that requirement exceptionally well,” said
Steve Gold, director of worldwide marketing for IBM Watson Solutions.
“Most situations won't dictate that level of response time. For a doctor, if the response is in six seconds or 10 seconds... obviously the implications for the response are more important than the turnaround time.”
Insurance company WellPoint will house the server, which means that people will access it via the Internet when they need to input inquiries into how to deal with cancer and other conditions.
This will make it easy to expand access to other oncology departments later down the line.
Language recognition from Nuance is part of the software, enabling the system to understand, to some extent, a wider variety of phrases and wording that usual.
"For a doctor, if the response is in six seconds or 10 seconds ... obviously the implications for the response are more important than the turnaround time,” Gold says.
“The goal is to assist physicians in evaluating evidence-based treatment options that can be delivered to the physician in a matter of seconds for assessment.”