IBM Watson Meetup—Part 2 (Cognitive Computing)

This is a continuation from Part 1.

Cognitive Computing

Following Robert High’s Watson overview, Dr. Jeffrey Kreulen, responsible for the cognitive systems architecture for IBM Watson Group, took the stage to talk about cognitive computing. The meetup was intended to be an introduction to IBM Watson at a level that is a little more detailed than a press release. Many attendees were not experts in the subject matter, and I think the level of detail was appropriate.

Dr. Jeffrey Kreulen

He first gave the following definition of cognitive computing, asking the audience whether anyone had a different take on it. I don’t. Do you?

A cognition system:

  • is able to learn through education
  • supports forms of expression that are more natural for human interaction
  • delivers its primary value through its expertise
  • continues to evolve as it encounters new experiences and information … and does so at enormous scale

A quick search on cognitive computing reveals two descriptions:

Because I am not an expert in the subject area, I cannot say too much about it. But Kreulen’s version and the TechTarget short definition appear to be saying the same thing in spirit.

TechTarget says:

  • Cognitive computing is the simulation of human thought processes in a computerized model.

Another data point: according to Kreulen, the IBM Research SyNAPSE project defines a cognitive system as:

  • “the quest for approximating the mind-like function, low power, small volume, and real-time performance of the human brain.”

Those who want to dig into his work more may want to read his report here. In this report, Kreulen cited several more papers and web pages, including this. There may be a more recent version of the report, but this is the best I can find.

He then covered the following components of cognitive computing:

  • Elements of cognition
  • Capability metrics
  • Architecture
  • Applications

His slide on each sub-subject was self-explanatory. Each point is explained well in this report. I intentionally did not elaborate each point, because that would have reproduced his report in essence.

Elements of Cognition (Source: Kreulen’s presentation at the meetup)

Capability Metrics (Source: Kreulen’s presentation at the meetup)

Architecture (Source: Kreulen’s presentation at the meetup)

His last slide captured what Watson is all about at a gut level, so I have attached it here.

Zen Kishimoto

About Zen Kishimoto

Seasoned research and technology executive with various functional expertise, including roles in analyst, writer, CTO, VP Engineering, general management, sales, and marketing in diverse high-tech and cleantech industry segments, including software, mobile embedded systems, Web technologies, and networking. Current focus and expertise are in the area of the IT application to energy, such as smart grid, green IT, building/data center energy efficiency, and cloud computing.

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