Following Watson's winning performance against Jeopardy! game show champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, IBM hosted a keynote session about its Jeopardy! Watson project at The Linux Foundation End User Summit. The project incorporates IBM Power 7 systems with Linux and analytics software.
The annual Linux Foundation conference was held March 1-2 at the Hyatt Regency in Jersey City, NJ, and IBM was a platinum sponsor. In addition to the keynote by Eric Brown, a manager in the T.J. Watson Research Lab, who offered an under-the-hood look at the IBM Watson supercomputer, the agenda also included Nivedita Singhvi, IBM software engineer from the Linux Technology Center, delivering a session on Low Latency Tuning; and Michael Day, IBM distinguished engineer and chief virtualization architect, delivering a session on KVM.
But Watson wasn't the only computer system that won last month when it competed successfully on Jeopardy! The other computing system is called World Community Grid, a virtual supercomputer that helps scientists solve humanitarian challenges by tapping the unused computing power of personal computers around the world. Scientists who use World Community Grid are not only set to receive Watson's $500,000 in prize money - but are already earning support worldwide because the day after the tournament's conclusion, World Community Grid saw a 700% spike in the number of people who normally volunteer their computers' spare power for the effort.
World Community Grid, an initiative of the IBM International Foundation, has created the equivalent of one of the world's largest virtual supercomputers designed to tackle projects that benefit humanity, such as new treatments for HIV/AIDS, cancer research, and affordable water purification. World Community Grid works by pooling the unused power of 1.7 million personal computers from 535,000 volunteers in more than 80 countries. It then makes this computational power available for scientists who might not otherwise be able to afford the high speed computing they require for timely research.
Individuals can donate time on their computers for the World Community Grid's humanitarian projects by registering on www.worldcommunitygrid.org, and installing a free, unobtrusive and secure software program on their computers running Linux, Microsoft Windows, or Macintosh operating systems.