Meet Watson: IBM’s question answering supercomputer that can access the equivalent of 800 million pages of information in a second.
Watson, originally created in 2011 to compete in the television quiz show Jeopardy!, will be implemented into the curriculum this fall at UC’s Lindner College of Business as a way to teach introductory analytics concepts to undergraduates and MBA students.
Lindner analytics Professor David Rogers is piloting IBM’s cloud-based version of the Watson technology as a way to introduce sophisticated data analysis delivered in layman’s terms.
“Watson is a great starting point in introducing business analytics to students without requiring them to be an expert,” says Rogers, who has been teaching analytics at Lindner for 31 years.
To tap into Watson’s ability to search millions of documents and analyze unstructured data for answers, students merely log on to the web-based program and upload an Excel spreadsheet.
“You punch go, turn it over to Watson and poof,” Rogers says of the software’s ease of use in understanding complex questions.
Watson then reveals insights, patterns and relationships by scouring data for answers from sources such as news articles, research reports, social media posts and enterprise systems.
Using a scoring algorithm, Watson then ranks all possible answers to questions such as which factor (age, degree or test score) is a best predictor for salary, which part of the country or gender had the most #feelthebern tweets, or why some sales deals closed while others did not. End users can then display the results or trends by creating their own visualizations of Watson’s findings.
After Watson’s Jeopardy! debut and win, IBM partnered with the health-care industry to use the technology as a diagnostic tool for physicians to improve patient care. To date, IBM is now partnering with 386 universities in using the Watson technology.