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IBM Watson is ushering in epoch-making change

11 Sep 2012
IBM Watson supercomputer

JERUSALEM: The computing industry is entering a new era as devices move from merely being programmable to become responsive, learning systems, according to a senior IBM executive.

Tom Rosamilia, vice president of corporate strategy, said that tools like the firm's Watson system mark this shift to cognitive systems that could have a huge impact on the corporate world.

"From the late 1960s until now, we were living in the programmable era, where we could add logic and software to systems and do things that we're still doing now and that's not going to disappear," he said at the HTIA conference in Israel.

"But now we're at the beginning of the cognitive systems era and the difference is that, while we haven't created machines that can think - not yet - we are creating ones that can learn, that can ingest data and understand it."

Watson, IBM's high-power machine for analysing and understanding data, is starting to be rolled out to businesses in the financial and healthcare sectors.

On Monday, IBM also revealed that Michigan State University had struck a deal to use Watson in its colleges of business, engineering and natural science as part of a new curriculum in business and data analytics.

As part of this change in computing, Rosamilia also touched on the importance of mobile devices to enterprise.

In particular, he cited the firm's push to offer management tools in this space and hinted the firm may make more acquisitions in this area.

"We already have Worklight in the mobile device management space and there is a lot of opportunity to do more in this area of how firms can manage devices," he said.

On the issue of cloud computing, Rosamilla revealed IBM is now managing 4,000 engagements for customers, and handled some 4.5 million daily client transactions on its cloud, helping revenues grow almost threefold in recent years.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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