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Ibm Makes More Powerful Watson Available via the Internet

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Watson supercomputer

Watson will become accessible to small companies and even individuals.

Credit: IBM

IBM on Thursday (November 14) announced that its Watson supercomputer will be available as a cloud service to third-party users at a significantly lower cost than in the past, marking the latest effort in a recent push among large technology firms to make supercomputers more accessible. Pay-as-you-go arrangements are offering small companies and even individuals the ability to use technologies that only the largest companies could afford a few years ago. "The next generation will look back and see 2013 as a year of monumental change," says IBM's Stephen Gold. "This is the start of a shift in the way people interact with computers."

Other companies such as Amazon are offering similar arrangements, and Cycle Computing recently said it had used Amazon's cloud of computer servers to run a solar-panel materials project in 18 hours that would have taken 264 years on a single server.

As competition among advanced computing systems rises, prices are expected to drop and computing capabilities will rise for a broader range of users. "Companies, governments, and people will struggle to figure out what to do with all this," says Gartner analyst Jamie Popkin. "It means there is going to be a new pace and velocity, making people rethink when humans make decisions, while machines make other decisions."

From The New York Times
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