"Smartest Computer on Earth"


One of the leading pioneers in software development, IBM since its founding “revolutionizes the way in which enterprises, organizations and people operate and thrive.”  The technology world never remains the same, there is always change and new innovations. Many of those innovations come from IBM’s facility. 

            Founded in 1911 as the company Computing-Tabulating-Recording (C-T-R), it helped develop the first dial recorder. It wasn’t until the making of the electronic punch machine, that C-T-R renamed itself as “International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).” From the renaming in 1924, IBM constantly revised the machine standards. All companies wanted IBM machines and soon the IBM was seeing gross income of $9 million in the early 1920s (“History of IBM”).

            In 1997, the world thought it had found the smartest computer ever. Deep Blue beat the world champion, Garry Kasparov, in a game of chess. It was the first time the world had seen a “smart computer” (“Chess Corner”). Deep Blue was a new kind of breed in computer technology and its creators were IBM. Deep Blue used sync, which is a program that plugs rules into a computer. Deep Blue was able to play chess because the rules are so well defined (Bill Wall). Today Deep Blue is a “benchmark” for most computers today including Watson and Blue Gene.

            It was with the new millennium and the Y-2 scare over, that IBM began to concentrate on developing new computer technology the world had never seen. In 2001, IBM released “Regatta” as the most powerful UNIX processor. Next in 2003 came the eServer eSeries 990, which is now the foundation of all eServers. Finally in 2006, Blue Gene Watson was developed and known as the “foremost supercomputer in the world” according to TOP500, a list ranking supercomputers on the bases of LINPACK benchmark (“TOP500 2006”). It had a new dynamic design, the processors were slanted. The slanting is used as a cooling method so the processors don’t overheat (“On the Path to Predictive Simulation”). 

            Deep Blue and Blue Gene are only two of IBM’s many supercomputers. They are however important in the aspect that some of the innovating ideas from these developments helped to build the “Smartest Computer in the World” (Bradley Wint). The world on February 14, 2011 met Watson, named from the founder of IBM Thomas Watson.  Developed specifically to compete on Jeopardy. In a three day marathon, Watson proved to the world and its two champion competitors that it is unlike any computer or machine the world has ever seen.

            Watson has been in development for the last four years. The inspiration came from Ken Jennings, one of Jeopardy’s most famous competitors. Jennings won 74 consecutive games and winning over two million dollars. Programmers wondered if a computer could be built to think conceptually. Most computers are “brains in a box that doesn’t understand context” (“Will Watson Win Jeopardy?”). Four years later it can be said a computer can think and function as well as a human brain, that computer is Watson.