Teperdexrian

The Interesting, The Strange, The News.

Supercomputer diagnoses & treats diseases

leave a comment »

IBM’s Watson computer system, best known for defeating the world’s best Jeopardy! players, is now delivering rapid-fire answers to questions about diseases and medicines.

The company says it could be suggesting diagnoses and treatments to doctors right at a patient’s bedside in the next couple of years.

A recent demonstration showed how Watson’s diagnoses evolved as the computer was given more information about a patient, including where the patient lived.

A career in medicine: 'Watson', IBM's supercomputer, is not devouring information from medical history and text books in a bid to know everything

A career in medicine: ‘Watson’, IBM’s supercomputer, is not devouring information from medical history and text books in a bid to know everything

Beaten: Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek with contestants Ken Jennings, Watson's 'avatar' and Brad Rutter - before Watson went on to wipe the floor with them

Beaten: Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek with contestants Ken Jennings, Watson’s ‘avatar’ and Brad Rutter – before Watson went on to wipe the floor with them

When told a patient was pregnant, for example, it altered its treatment suggestion.

Watson is being fed a diet of medical textbooks and journals and taking training questions in plain language from medical students.

A doctor who is helping IBM says its database might soon include entries from blogs.

The imposing Watson first made headlines when it comprehensively beat Jeopardy! champions Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings.

Medical diagnoses: IBM says Watson will soon be able to help doctors diagnose and treat individual patients, by swiftly analysing personal data

Medical diagnoses: IBM says Watson will soon be able to help doctors diagnose and treat individual patients, by swiftly analysing personal data

Named after IBM’s former president Thomas Watson, the computer’s secret to succes is its ability to understand language and solve problems through complex algorithms.

It makes it even more evolved than Deep Blue, an IBM chess-playing supercomputer that beat world champion Garry Kasparov in 1997.

The mastermind is actually housed in two units. Each unit contains five racks and each rack has 10 IBM Power 750 servers.

Namesake: Pioneering IBM founder Tom Watson pictured in 1966. The supercomputer is named after him

Namesake: Pioneering IBM founder Tom Watson pictured in 1966 with an early computing machine. The supercomputer is named after him.

When all are linked up they are the equivalent to 2,800 powerful computers with a memory of 15trillion bytes.

Watson is a pretty noisy contraption, but most of the noise comes from two large refrigerated units used to cool the machine down.

IBM researchers have been developing Watson for almost four years.

The company spends around $6billion a year on research and development. An unspecified part of that goes to what it calls ‘grand challenges’, or big, multi-year science projects such as Watson and Deep Blue.

IBM is attempting to create computers that can mimic the human ability to comprehend and answer natural language questions.

Via DailyMail

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: