Tuesday, July 19, 2011

On Watson and Event processing

This is a picture taken in the DEBS conference last week, we had an invited talk by Eddie Epstein from the Watson team, and he ran a round of Jeopardy!, two of the conference participants against Watson, here you can see that Watson has -800 point (click on the picture to see it clearly), but it recovered and won.   We invited the talk on Watson, not because it somehow related to event-based systems, but because the conference took place in the Yorktown auditorium, where the famous Jeopardy! game in which Watson succeeded to beat two of the all time champions was recorded.

Today I've found a Blog posting by Shalin Shah from Vitria, with the promising title:  

IBM’s Watson: What Does Complex-Event Processing Mean For Customer Experience Management?

So I tried to understand what the author thinks is the relationship between the  two,  the answer according to the posting - both of them can be used for operational intelligence.

Indeed, there are now efforts within IBM Research, to determine what are the next steps, since in essence Watson is "deep question answering machine" there are some areas that seem to be killer applications of this technology, among them are: medical diagnosis and helpdesk/contact center in which agents need to answer questions in a lot of areas. There are some others as well.   

From technology point of view, Watson works in a different paradigm relative to event processing.  It is not event-driven, but is based on a knowledge stored in books, encyclopedias, and other sources.  What it does in real-time is - question understanding and question answering using statistical reasoning, and massive computational power.   

The interesting question is what can be a synergy between question answering machine and event processing,  here we can think of two sides:   an event processing system is being assisted in Watson-like system in order to determine contextual information that can be used for evaluating assertions, or classify events into context instances.   On the other hand a question answered can trigger event.  Or the question answering system can be monitored by an event processing system.     One can also think about real-time update of Watson's knowledge-base as a result of event, which is not the way Watson currently works.    I think that there are various more synergies between the two types of systems.

More - later.

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