International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) has earmarked $1 billion to create a new business unit that focuses on Watson, a supercomputer that was able to beat humans on TV quiz show “Jeopardy.”
The IBM Watson Group will be led by IBM SVP Michael Rhodin. The investment includes a $100 million equity fund to enhance innovation for the Watson Developers Cloud. This was opened up for third party developers last year. The Watson unit will have around 2,000 employees and is going to be based in New York City.
Watson was able to beat “Jeopardy” TV quiz contestants in 2011. Watson is an artificial intelligence machine that was named after the IBM president between 1914 and 1956, Thomas Watson. Watson uses natural language capabilities and analytics to process information. IBM’s size has been dropped to the size of three stacked pizza boxes from its original size of a master bedroom.
“We have reached the inflection point where the interest is overwhelming and we recognized we need to move faster,” stated Stephen Gold, vice president of Watson Business.
Watson is going to be deployed on Softlayer, which is a cloud computing company that IBM acquired last year.