IBM is looking to expand its Watson supercomputer into a cloud-based service that can be used by a variety of different types of professionals. The move could end up making IBM's supercomputer readily available for the average physician or lawyer.
"We want broad exposure for Watson. We want physicians all over the planet to be able to use it," solutions marketing manager at IBM John Gordon said to New Scientist.
"And we are now looking at ways of delivering Watson as a service to make sure that it is something that is very accessible and which doesn't require a significant level of technology investment by the user."
Watson is IBM's five-year-old supercomputer. The powerful machine has the ability to shuffle through mass quantities of data and give users answers to a variety of quires.
To prove Watson's answer giving prowess IBM put the supercomputer on Jeopardy last year. The supercomputer beat out former Jeopardy winners on the Alex Trebek hosted game show in January 2011.
Watson is already in use at some major firms. The supercomputer is said to be helping Citi Group make financial decisions by calculating risk-assessment portfolio's for some of the company's clients.
A move to the cloud would mean a more service-based approach for Watson. The cloud could allow Watson to adapt to individual user needs and learn user preferences.
IBM puts forth the example of Watson giving user-based preferences for chemotherapy treatments. The company says a cloud-based Watson could learn about a patient who would prefer treatment that doesn't cause hair loss on a case-by-case basis.
As services in the cloud continue to expand its interesting to see what types of technology can grow from being part of the cloud. Companies are no longer just using the cloud for storage; they are also now building complete services in the ether. It will be interesting to see where the trend ends up going.
Lets just hope it doesn't wind up with SkyNet and time-traveling robots.
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