AI Mainframe Supercomputer Computer

David Ferrucci, the scientist behind IBM Watson raises substantial funds for his AI project

David Ferrucci, a prominent artificial intelligence researcher who led the team that created IBM Watson, has reportedly raised nearly $60 million for his AI company called Elemental Cognition.

Headquartered in New York, Elemental says on its website that the company seeks to develop AI that ‘thinks before it talks‘. It offers two enterprise products, Cogent and Cora, which are essentially chatbots designed for different scenarios. They can be used in financial services, interactive travel planning and for automating research discovery in life sciences.

Elemental Cognition

  • The new startup company is called Elemental Cognition, and it was founded in 2015 by David Ferrucci, who led the team that created IBM Watson.
  • Elemental Cognition aims to develop AI that ‘thinks before it talks‘ and can understand the meaning and context of human language. It offers two enterprise products, Cogent and Cora, which are chatbots for different scenarios.
  • Elemental Cognition has raised $60 million in funding from 17 investors, including Jim Breyer, former IBM CEO Sam Palmisano, and Geoff Yang of Redpoint Ventures.

What is IBM Watson?

IBM Watson is used in various areas of AI, such as natural language processing, machine learning, computer vision, speech recognition, and knowledge representation. IBM Watson is a cognitive computing system that can process natural language, analyze large amounts of data, and learn from its interactions with humans and machines.

IBM Watson is a question-answering computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language, developed in IBM’s DeepQA project by a research team led by principal David Ferrucci. Watson was named after IBM’s founder and first CEO, industrialist Thomas J. Watson.

Watson Assistant: A chatbot platform that allows businesses to create conversational agents that can interact with customers and employees through text or voice. Watson Assistant can understand natural language, provide personalized responses, and integrate with other services and data sources.

A watercolour image of an AI microchip powering a mainframe supercomputer computer

Watson Discovery: A data analysis tool that can extract insights from structured and unstructured data, such as documents, web pages, social media posts, and images. Watson Discovery can perform natural language understanding, sentiment analysis, entity extraction, and document classification.

Watson Studio: A cloud-based platform that enables data scientists and developers to build, train, and deploy AI and machine learning models. Watson Studio supports various frameworks and languages, such as Python, TensorFlow, PyTorch and R. Watson Studio also provides tools for data visualization, collaboration, and automation.

Watson Visual Recognition: A computer vision service that can analyze images and videos for content, objects, faces, scenes, and emotions. 


The IBM Watson computer consists of a cluster of ninety IBM Power 750 servers, each of which uses a 3.5 GHz POWER7 eight-core processor, with four threads per core. The system has 2,880 POWER7 processor threads and 16 terabytes of RAM. It can process 500 gigabytes (the equivalent of a million books) per second.

Supercomputer now with AI power

The IBM Watson computer has an avatar that is inspired by the IBM ‘Smarter Planet’ logo. The avatar is a globe with a grid pattern and four glowing stripes that represent the four main aspects of Watson: natural language processing, hypothesis generation and evaluation, dynamic adaptation, and evidence-based learning. The avatar also changes color and brightness depending on Watson’s mood and confidence level.

International Business Machines (IBM)

IBM was founded in 1911 in Endicott, New York, as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR) by Charles Ranlett Flint. The company changed its name to International Business Machines (IBM) in 1924 under the leadership of Thomas J. Watson, Sr.  IBM is one of the oldest and most influential technology companies in the world, with a history of innovation and research in various fields of computing.

The International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), nicknamed ‘Big Blue’, is an American multinational technology corporation headquartered in New York and is present in over 175 countries. It specializes in computer hardware, middleware, and software, and provides hosting and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology. IBM is the largest industrial research organization in the world.

IBM holds the record for most annual U.S. patents generated by a business for 29 consecutive years from 1993 to 2021? 

Big Blue quietly works on…

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