IBM scientists have been working on a Question Answering system, codenamed Watson, which they say will be able to understand complex questions and answer with enough precision and speed to compete on a TV games show.
Like Wolfram Alpha, the search engine being launched this month, Watson uses natural language processing.
IBM has built Watson to compete on Jeopardy!, America's favourite quiz show.
Samuel Palmisano, IBM chairman, president and chief executive, said, "The essence of making decisions is recognising patterns in vast amounts of data, sorting through choices and options, and responding quickly and accurately." The research underlying Watson is expected to elevate computer intelligence and human-to-computer communication to unprecedented levels. IBM intends to apply the unique technological capabilities being developed for Watson to help clients across a wide variety of industries answer business questions quickly and accurately.