IBM's Watson takes on big data analytics

For Watson, sifting through mounds of data flooding enterprises is elementary

IBM's Watson, made famous by beating Jeopardy champions, is taking on the big data challenge faced by many enterprises.

On Thursday, IBM (NYSE: IBM) is unveiling to a group of analysts commercial applications for its Watson artificial intelligence computing, including helping enterprises tackle big data problems, according to a report by the New York Times.

Watson's artificial intelligence is well suited to make sense out of the flood of data threatening to drown enterprises. Among the applications so far tested, Watson has helped drug firm GlaxoSmithKline develop new drugs.

For example, Watson was able to sort through all of the literature on malaria, known anti-malarial drugs and other chemical compounds and suggest 15 additional compounds as potential anti-malarial drugs.

IBM also worked with mining company Thiess to provide predictive maintenance on machinery as well as mines. Thiess operates a fleet of large mining machines worth $3 billion. The data collected and analyzed by Watson includes trips, load weights, speed, driving styles, weather, terrain and economic models of mine operations.

Frank Gens, chief analyst for IDC, told the publication Watson can provide services that future users might be able to access through a smartphone or tablet. "It will take years for these consumerized technologies to compete with Watson, but that day could certainly come," Gens said.

In a recent, more traditional big data move, IBM launched initiatives to enables its global ecosystem of business partners to effectively use the cloud, mobile and big analytics technologies.

As part of the effort, IBM is offering business partners one year of free access to its cloud-based IBM Digital Analytics technology, which analyzes big data to identify patterns in customer preferences and improve marketing strategies to target the individual consumer more effectively. 

For more:
- read the NYT article
- see IBM's release

Related articles:
IBM, Deutsche Telekom partner to build smarter cities
Gartner: Microsoft, Oracle, IBM lead BI and analytics market