IBM's Watson supercomputer learns about cancer | On Call

October 31, 2012 by MassDevice staff

IBM's Jeopardy-winning Watson supercomputer has begun working with oncologists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to "learn" all about cancer research, with hopes of working on real patients by year's end.

MassDevice On Call

MASSDEVICE ON CALL — IBM's Watson supercomputer, which trounced a pair of human competitors on Jeopardy more than year ago, has begun treating patients at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

A result of a partnership announced earlier this year, Watson is "in the trenches" with oncologists to analyze cancer research and literature to provide diagnostic and treatment solutions.

Watson "reads" through millions of pages of medical journals and other clinical research, using its "natural language processing" algorithms to find information relevant to a physician query, InformationWeek reported.

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The clinical must make the final decision regarding diagnoses or treatment decisions, but Watson can help by offering some direction.

Sloan-Kettering is now merging its massive oncology database, including information for around 1.2 million patients, with Watson's processing ability, taking aim initially at treatment and diagnostics for non-small-cell lung cancer.

By the end of this, IBM and Sloan-Kettering hope to have Watson working on real cases, according to the news source.