Recently at the IBM Technology Conference & Expo – themed “Smarter Computing”, IBM introduced the new Power7 workload-optimized blades & servers for the world’s most demanding applications – some of which include healthcare management, financial services, and scientific research. To demonstrate the capabilities of their servers, IBM gave us a simulated demo of Watson – the Power7 supercomputer designed for playing Jeopardy!, complete with voice recognition and all.
The IBM Power Systems Family
IBM’s new Power Systems include the BladeCenter PS703 16-core single-wide blade, and the BladeCenter PS704 32-core dual-wide blade – which are IBM’s alternative to server racks. These blades provide massive server consolidation with energy-efficient economics. They also have the enhanced Power 750 Express, which is the supercomputer used to power Watson’s Jeopardy-playing skills. The 750 Express’ features have been upgraded – including a new Power7 processor more than 3x the performance against other well known 32-core servers. Finally, the Power 755 is a new high-performance cluster node with 32 Power7 cores running with a faster processor.
Hot in the heels of beating Grandmaster Gary Kasparov at Chess in 1997 with Deep Blue, IBM decided to build a new supercomputer to handle playing a real game of Jeopardy. Watson, named after IBM’s founder Thomas J. Watson, Sr. is a specifically designed Power750 server with voice recognition and 200 million pages of structured and unstructured content consuming 4 terabytes of storage – which includes the full text of Wikipedia. Watson’s task is to understand the Jeopardy! clue, decipher all of the figures of speech, buzz in and come up with an answer – all without being connected to the internet for possible search queries. A specifically-built analytical computer like Watson could be designed to help with a lot of the world’s processes – including medical applications, as it can learn and answer questions on its own. We were treated to a simulation of the Watson Jeopardy! computer by Mr. Steven Seah, Smart Analytics Leader, Systems & Technology Group for IBM ASEAN. You can watch the video below.
To see the real Watson playing against the world’s expert Jeopardy! players, check out the video below.
For more information on IBM’s Smarter Computing products, check out their website here. And for more pictures of the event, check out the gallery below.
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