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IBM’s Watson bests Cleveland Clinic cardiologists

The Plain Dealer, October 5, 2011

IBM's Watson easily dispatched two teams of Cleveland Clinic cardiologists during a demonstration modeled on the game of "Jeopardy!" Tuesday afternoon as part of the Clinic's 2011 Medical Innovation Summit held at the InterContinental Hotel. The fun half-hour was designed to showcase a new kind of computing power that goes beyond what any spreadsheet or Google search can do. Watson processes natural language, in this case English, not just data points. That way it can churn through far more information, slice it in all kinds of ways, and stay up all night doing it. The Cleveland Clinic has computer decision support now, but it's limited to things like drug interaction alerts, said Dr. William Morris, a clinic doctor who participated in a panel discussion after the Jeopardy! game. One of the potential applications of Watson could be dealing with information overload, he said, a problem that's increasing exponentially. Dr. Doug Johnston, a heart surgeon on the panel, said Watson could one day provide expert opinions to rural doctors who may not have knowledge of the latest developments in their field.