The trick of course is to do all the processing in real-time. Contestants, at least the successful ones, need to provide an answer in just a few seconds. When the software was run on a lone 2.6 GHz CPU, it took around 2 hours to process a typical Jeopardy clue -- not a very practical implementation. But when they parallelized the algorithms across the 2880-core Watson, they were able to cut the processing time from a couple of hours to between 2 and 6 seconds.
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Saw an ad on TV about Watson helping doctors this week.
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