SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is the fastest operating system on IBM POWER7® based on recent SPEC benchmarks.

This makes it a natural choice of operating system for IBM’s DeepQA software that powers Watson.

The POWER7 platform is known for its ability to meet high performance, high capacity, and near linear scaling. Since 1993, SUSE engineers have made significant contributions to the advancement and tuning of the Linux kernel and key kernel-related performance technologies. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is the clear choice for high performance computing systems, with features like:

  • Advanced memory management
  • New processor support
  • Unmatched performance on systems with multicore processors
  • Native POSIX Thread Library (NPTL)
  • Advanced multi-pathing and I/O capabilities

Why does IBM Watson need so much power and speed?

IBM Watson has been developed to try to match the natural language processing abilities of the human brain (which, as IBM researchers point out, can fit inside a shoebox and is powered by a tuna sandwich). As a test of these abilities, they are having Watson play Jeopardy! against the two best players in the world–Grand Champions Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings–on February 14. According to IBM, they chose the popular game show because:

IBM Watson

The game of Jeopardy! makes great demands on its players—from the range of topical knowledge covered to the nuances in language employed in the clues. Can the analytical power of a computer system—normally accustomed to executing precise requests— overcome these obstacles? Can the troves of knowledge written in human terms become easily searchable by a machine in order to deliver a single, precise answer? Can a quiz show help advance science?

Watch IBM Watson play Jeopardy! and the future of Watson.