What is IBM Watson?
IBM themselves call it a cognitive system that allows human and computers partner in a new way.
But what is a cognitive system?
It is a technology using Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning to enable natural interaction between human and computing systems and improve human knowledge abilities in various fields.
Cognitive computing systems are software and/or hardware imitating human brain activity and helping to improve decision-making process, especially when it comes to the complex decisions connected with wast amount of rapidly changing Big Data. These systems analyze the immense volume of unstructured information generated every day, such as articles, twits, blog and social media posts.
Other sources call IBM Watson supercomputer capable of answering questions asked in natural language.
How does IBM Watson work?
- The system receives a question.
- It carries out its syntactical analysis.
- The system searches data corpus for phrases probably containing required reply.
- The corpus can contain various materials: manuals, guides, news, FAQ, etc.
- As a result, a number of hypotheses are generated.
- The system applies logical inference algorithms.
- As a result of comparison by various criteria, each hypothesis is evaluated.
- This evaluation shows how high the probability is that the answer is found in the sphere analyzed by the given algorithm.
- Statistical model records how successfully the algorithm has managed to find logical connections between two similar phrases in the given sphere in “learning period” of the system. Later on, this statistical model is used to define the general level of Watson system confidence that possible answer follows from the question.
The process is repeated to find the answers that are correct more probably than all others.
IBM Watson Products and Services:
IBM Watson Discovery Advisor is used to enhance research, especially in pharmaceutic and medical companies. Watson Discovery Advisor analyses unstructured data and establishes logical connections, as a result, the work of scientists can be performed faster and easier.
IBM Watson Explorer is a platform for efficient search and analysis of data (structured, unstructured, inner, external and publicly available). Helps to identify tendencies and patterns, and improve decision-making process, customer service and return on investments.
The Watson Engagement Advisor is a solution for the creation of a high-level Support Service. Watson Virtual Agent answers users’ questions steadily, considering context, in natural language, and learns and improves with each interaction.
Alchemy Language is a collection of APIs, which offer text analysis with natural language processing. At the moment, it consists of 12+ functions of textual analysis using advanced techniques of natural language processing and understanding based on the syntactical information. Usage examples: content aggregation, sentiment analysis, BI.
IBM Watson Analytics is a cloud service for data analysis and visualization. The user inputs raw data to the system and gets organized information. Data discovery, automated predictive analytics, and ability to communicate in natural language make service a powerful tool of business-analytics. A company can analyze and predict the influence of the external factors on its business development.
Many companies all over the world are IBM Watson customers. General Motors, American Cancer Society, multinational banking company Citigroup, DBS Bank, sportswear brand Under Armour, Marchesa high wear brand and others.
And yes, it was the IBM Watson computer who won one million dollars at Jeopardy game show in February 2011!