IBM’s Watson heading to its first university

Jan 30, 2013

IBM's infamous Watson supercomputer is making its way to the classroom after appearing on Jeopardy! a while back. IBM announced today that they'll be building another Watson supercomputer and will be giving it to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to be the first university to receive a Watson supercomputer. Other universities are planned to get one in the future.

Rensselaer will receive the Watson system thanks to a grant that allows the university to invest more resources to research and development of big data, analytics, and cognitive computing. However, in return, IBM is asking the university to send its findings their way so that they can improve Watson even more.

Rensselaer's private Watson supercomputer will have 15 terabytes of storage, which is actually more than even the Jeopardy! version had. Plus, the room that Watson will be stored in will allow 20 people at a time to work inside, including faculty, graduate students, and a few undergraduate students.

So what will the supercomputer be used for at the university? Artificial intelligence researchers at Rensselaer want to improve Watson's mathematical ability and help it figure out the meaning of newer words. They also want to improve the computer's ability to analyze all of the images, videos, and emails floating around on the internet, something that will prove to be no easy task for the folks at the university.

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