Watson Supercomputer Power Offered to Develop Enterprise Mobile Apps

To generate interest in its enterprise-class Watson supercomputer platform now being offered as a service, IBM is encouraging mobile app developers to harness its "cognitive computing" power in a developer challenge contest.

Cognitive computing "represents a new class of services, software and apps that analyze, improve by learning, and discover answers and insights to complex questions from massive amounts of disparate data," IBM said in its announcement from the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona. Developers are invited to send in their ideas for mobile apps to take advantage of the Big Data number-crunching power of Watson as the company tries to spark development efforts in this new arena as part of the IBM Watson Mobile Developers Challenge. Eventually, three developers will receive assistance from IBM to build their apps and bring them to market fruition.

IBM said Watson uses natural language processing and analytics to mimic how people think. This cognitive computing represents "a major shift in an organization's ability to quickly analyze, understand and respond to Big Data," the company said.

Watson is a supercomputer system originally developed by IBM to compete on the "Jeopardy" TV quiz show, where it beat the best human contestants and won a $1 million prize in 2011. The system has since been "squeezed into a space the size of three pizza boxes" and its power is available in the cloud for access by smartphones or tablets, explained IBM's Stephen Gold in a blog post today.

IBM said Watson is able to understand all kinds of unstructured information, including HTML, PDF, Microsoft Word and plain text content, but doesn't understand any language other than English and can't process images or video.

The deadline to submit proposals for the contest is March 31, and three winners will be announced May 31.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for 1105 Media.

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