Apache Innovation Bolsters IBM's 'Smartest Machine on Earth' in First-ever Man vs. Machine Competition on Jeopardy! Quiz Show

Apache UIMA and Apache Hadoop Advance Data Intelligence and Semantics Capabilities of Watson Supercomputer

FOREST HILL, Md., Feb. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of nearly 150 Open Source projects and initiatives, today announced that Apache UIMA and Apache Hadoop play key roles in the data intelligence and analytic proficiency of the IBM Watson supercomputer, playing against human champions on the TV show "Jeopardy!".

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Processing 80 trillion operations (teraflops) per second, Watson will access 200 million pages of content against 6 million logic rules to "understand" the nuances, meanings, and patterns in spoken human language, and compete in the trivia game show Jeopardy!. Contestants are presented with clues in the form of answers, and must phrase their responses as questions within a 5-second timeframe.

Hundreds of Apache UIMA Annotators and thousands of algorithms help Watson –which runs disconnected from the Internet– access vast databases to simultaneously comprehend clues and formulate answers. Watson then analyzes 500 gigabytes of preprocessed information to match potential meanings for the question and a potential answer to the question. Helping Watson do this is:

  • Apache UIMA: standards-based frameworks, infrastructure and components that facilitate the analysis and annotation of an array of unstructured content (such as text, audio and video). Watson uses Apache UIMA for real-time content analytics and natural language processing, to comprehend clues, find possible answers, gather supporting evidence, score each answer, compute its confidence in each answer, and improve contextual understanding (machine learning) – all under 3 seconds.  
  • Apache Hadoop: software framework that enables data-intensive distributed applications to work with thousands of nodes and petabytes of data. A foundation of Cloud computing, Apache Hadoop enables Watson to access, sort, and process data in a massively parallel system (90+ server cluster/2,880 processor cores/16 terabytes of RAM/4 terabytes of disk storage).

The Watson system uses UIMA as its principal infrastructure for component interoperability and makes extensive use of the UIMA-AS scale-out capabilities that can exploit modern, highly parallel hardware architectures. UIMA manages all work flow and communication between processes, which are spread across the cluster. Apache Hadoop manages the task of preprocessing Watson's enormous information sources by deploying UIMA pipelines as Hadoop mappers, running UIMA analytics.

"The success and influence of Watson clearly shows that open source in general, and specifically open source software developed and released by the ASF, is deeply entwined in all layers and aspects of technology," said ASF President Jim Jagielski. "Apache software is part of computing and information technology DNA, forming complete or integral solutions to advanced problems, and leveraging the software under the non-restrictive Apache License allows for extremely rapid development of cutting edge technology."

Watson faces off against record-breaking (human) Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter for the $1M grand prize 14-16 February 2011. 100% of Watson's winnings will be donated to charity; Rutter and Jennings have committed to donating 50% of their prizes.

Availability

All ASF products, including Apache UIMA and Apache Hadoop, are available to the public free of charge under the Apache Software License v2.0. Downloads, documentation, and related resources are available at http://www.apache.org/.

About The Apache Software Foundation (ASF)

Established in 1999, the all-volunteer Foundation oversees nearly one hundred fifty leading Open Source projects, including Apache HTTP Server — the world's most popular Web server software. Through the ASF's meritocratic process known as "The Apache Way," more than 300 individual Members and 2,500 Committers successfully collaborate to develop freely available enterprise-grade software, benefiting millions of users worldwide: thousands of software solutions are distributed under the Apache License; and the community actively participates in ASF mailing lists, mentoring initiatives, and ApacheCon, the Foundation's official user conference, trainings, and expo. The ASF is a US 501(3)(c) not-for-profit charity, funded by individual donations and corporate sponsors including AMD, Basis Technology, Cloudera, Facebook, Google, IBM, HP, Matt Mullenweg, Microsoft, SpringSource, and Yahoo!. For more information, visit http://www.apache.org/.

SOURCE Apache Software Foundation



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