Pretty much everyone knows by now that Watson, the Jeopardy-playing supercomputer that was able to cream two human champions, was created by researchers at IBM. And IBM’s made clear that Watson doesn’t work its magic by searching the Internet. But apparently Yahoo tech did play a role in the creation of the machine.
A post on Yahoo’s official Yodel Anecdotal blog highlighted the connection by stating, "[W]hat makes Watson’s genius possible? A whole lot of storage, sophisticated hardware, super fast processors and Apache Hadoop, the open source technology pioneered by Yahoo! and at the epicenter of big data and cloud computing."
Then the post continued, "Hadoop was used to create Watson’s ‘brain,’ or the database of knowledge and facilitation of Watson’s processing of enormously large volumes of data in milliseconds. Watson depends on 200 million pages of content and 500 gigabytes of preprocessed information to answer Jeopardy questions. That huge catalog of documents has to be searchable in seconds. On a single computer, it would be impossible to do, but by using Hadoop and dividing the work on to many computers it can be done."
That’s an impressive boast for Yahoo to be able to make. Watson represents a huge step forward in information processing, so any connection entitles Yahoo to bragging rights. And since Watson is perhaps the most famous computer since Deep Blue, more than a few people should actually take note.
Lots of researchers could reach out to Yahoo as a result.
The link might also result in at least a handful of individuals giving Yahoo’s search engine a try again (never mind the fact that it’s now powered by Bing).