You’ve seen it on Jeopardy!, defeating the brainiest trivia freaks humanity could muster, but will IBM’s Watson be relegated to the scrap-heap after winning big on a game show? After all, who could afford such a pinnacle of engineering?
According to Computerworld, lots of people could since the price tag for a Watson-class computer comes in at around a reasonable-sounding $3 million.
According to Tony Pearson, master inventor and senior consultant at IBM, a Power 750 server retails for $34,500. Thus the 90 that make up Watson would cost about $3 million.
That’s only slightly more than a CT scan machine. And that’s for an exact duplicate of Watson. By using fewer servers, the price drops dramatically.
This is music to the ears of the medical industry, who has expressed interest in incorporating Watson-type machines into their operations. IBM hopes to work with Nuance, a company specializing in image and speech recognition, to aid doctors in diagnosing their patients.
For example, a doctor treating a patient could use Watson’s analytics technology, in conjunction with Nuance’s voice and clinical language understanding software, to rapidly consider all the related texts, reference materials, prior cases, and latest knowledge in journals and medical literature. This could help medical professionals confidently determine the best options for diagnosis and treatment.
Forget Dr. House, Watson could soon be reminding health care providers that it’s never lupus.