Watson is made by the IBM (International Business Machines) company. Watson was named after the company’s founder,Thomas J. Watson, and is a project seven years in the making. It is powered by 90 32-core IBM Power 750 Express servers and 16 terabytes of memory. IBM says this is about six thousand high-end home computers put together. Watson is estimated to be worth $2 million.
IBM says Watson could not be connected to the internet during the game, so they filled his memory with the World Book Encyclopedia, Wikipedia, the Internet Movie Database, much of The New York Times archive and the Bible. Watson’s first match was with Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.
The show was shot from the IBM Research Facility outside of New York City. Alex Tribec describes Watson as “a sophisticated computer system too heavy and too big to fit behind that lectren on our stage.”
IBM says the future for Watson is unclear. They say they are exploring the best ways to use this kind of capability to solve real problems.