Milestones along the way in Watson's colorful history

Year after year, IBM's AI has broadened its reach

How did IBM's Watson get to where it is today? Here are some key events that happened along the way.

May 1997: Deep Blue conquers chess

IBM's Deep Blue computer beats world chess champion Garry Kasparov in a six-game match that lasts several days and receives massive media coverage around the world. It also inspires researchers at IBM to undertake an even bigger challenge: build a computer that could beat the champions at Jeopardy.

February 2011: Victorious at Jeopardy

Watson competes on Jeopardy and defeats the TV quiz show’s two biggest all-time champions. It wins US$1 million; IBM donates the full amount to charity.

January 2014: A business unit is born

IBM launches the IBM Watson Group, a business unit dedicated to developing and commercializing the technology. Later that year, it opens a global headquarters in New York City's "Silicon Alley."

April 2015: Honing in on health

We each generate one million gigabytes of health-related data across our lifetime, IBM says. The Watson Health business unit aims to help patients, physicians, researchers and insurers use that data for better health.

December 2015: A new IoT branch

IBM opens a new Watson internet of things (IoT) global headquarters in Munich, Germany.

February 2016: Watson for U.S. president?

Though it says it's not affiliated with IBM, the Watson 2016 Foundation launches the "Watson for President" website to help promote the technology's presidential prospects.

May 2016: Eight languages and counting

Watson begins learning Korean, bringing the total number of its conversational languages to eight. Also part of its repertoire are English, French, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, and Arabic.

May 2016: Off to (cybersecurity) school

IBM Security announces a year-long research project through which it is collaborating with eight universities to help train Watson to tackle cybercrime.

June 2016: Learning to drive

Local Motors debuts Olli, the first self-driving vehicle to integrate Watson's capabilities. The 12-passenger electric vehicle analyzes and learns from transportation data produced by more than 30 sensors embedded throughout the vehicle. It also leverages four Watson developer APIs to enable smooth interactions between passengers and the vehicle.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags IBM

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?