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IBM's Watson proved to a national audience that the computer system can handily defeat Jeopardy champions in a game show. Now the 100-year-old tech giant is on a mission to demonstrate that Watson is the Next Big Thing for industries ranging from call centers to government security. First on the list is health care. On Monday IBM announced that health insurance company Wellpoint had agreed to use the Watson system to provide doctors with more up-to-date information and possible solutions.
Watson is an artificial intelligence computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language, developed in IBM's DeepQA project by a research team led by principal investigator David Ferrucci. Watson was named after IBM's first president, Thomas J. Watson.
In 2011, as a test of its abilities, Watson competed on the quiz show Jeopardy!, in the show's only human-versus-machine match-up to date. In a two-game, combined-point match, broadcast in three Jeopardy! episodes February 14–16, Watson beat Brad Rutter, the biggest all-time money winner on Jeopardy!, and Ken Jennings, the record holder for the longest championship streak (75 days).