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Watson powers IBM's $1bn cognitive computing business

IBM is building a $1bn cognitive computing business unit to monetise its 'Watson' supercomputer programme

IBM is building a $1bn cognitive computing business unit to monetise its Watson supercomputer programme.

According to the Financial Times, the unit will employ 2,000 people. There will also be a $100m venture capital fund to support startups creating applications based on Watson.

Watson was the computer that famously beat human competitors in the US games show Jeopardy.

In an interview with Computer Weekly in March 2013, Dan Cerutti, who was leading the commercialisation of the Watson technology, said: “We’re looking for problems where humans make decisions.”

In November 2012, IBM said it would make Watson available as a development platform in the cloud. 

IBM said it would provide a cloud-hosted marketplace where application providers of all sizes and industries would be able to tap into resources for developing Watson-powered apps.

Through the marketplace companies would be able to use their own data or Watson’s own content store, containing data from third-party providers. 

At the time, Michael Rhodin, senior vice-president at IBM software solutions group, who will head the Watson business unit, said: "Together with our partners we'll spark a new class of applications that will learn from experience, improve with each interaction and outcome, and assist in solving the most complex questions facing the industry and society."

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