The Science Behind Watson

Watson's ability to learn and to understand natural language is helping to break down the barrier between people and machines.

See how Watson tracks feedback and learns from experiences to improve future responses.

The Era of Cognitive Systems: An Inside Look at IBM Watson and How it Works

The history of Watson

IBM has a historical commitment to research - investing USD6 billion per year. Watson was a product of this commitment. The project began in 2006 with a team of IBM researchers collaborating with leading universities on a project called "Deep QA."

Jeopardy! was selected as the ultimate test of the machine's capabilities because it relied on many human cognitive abilities traditionally seen beyond the capability of computers, such as:

    In a human, these capabilities come from a lifetime of participation in human interaction and decision-making along with an immersion in pop culture.

For the Watson team, replicating these capabilities was an enormous challenge, moving beyond keyword searches and queries of structured data to asking questions and accessing and assessing a vast amount of unstructured data to find the best answer. But IBM knew that the solution to this challenge had the potential to change the way businesses use information and make decisions.

To meet this grand challenge, the Watson team focused on three key capabilities:

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