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IBM’s Watson and SAP Hana: A Worthy Combination?

March 19th, 2011 03:30 admin Leave a comment Go to comments

573 - Matrix Falling Text - TextureI want to end the week with a short video by Dennis Howlett. The video is a fascinating exchange between Dr Vishal Sikka, an executive board member with SAP and Vijay Vijayasankar associate partner at IBM.

The conversation is playful and quire insightful about the relationship between the companies. The two technologists explore in-memory technology in the context of IBM Watson and SAP Hana. But I particularly like the lead discussion about game mechanics and machine over human inequities that the Jeopardy match illuminated.

Sikka opened the conversation by stating how he is a lifelong Jeopardy fan. In jousting fashion, he declared how astounded he was that he could beat Watson on four questions, including one about Chicago. Vijayasanka replied that it showed Watson deductive reasoning. It had low confidence and thus did not make the decision to click the buzzer.

Sikka also pointed out that Watson had an inherent capability to click the button faster than its human counterparts. Vijayasanka had his own response again, saying Watson got to the button because it had the question answered first.

It’s a humorous and insightful exchange that then extends into a conversation about how IBM Watson may someday be used with SAP Hana. Vijayasanka cited the potential for customer service engagements. Sikka said he expects that this year SAP will have some announcements about its text search technology.

Of note is Sikka’s statement about the two companies working together through IBM Global Services and the ways SAP’s structured and unstructured text search technologies could work with the natural language processing capabilities that comes with Watson.

This video is worth watching a few times to pick up the insights, particularly in how in-memory technology applies to text search. It can speed up searches on a scaling basis. That part of the equation will be particularly interesting to watch play out the rest of the year.

Source: IBM’s Watson and SAP Hana: A Worthy Combination?

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