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Watson Extends its Reach

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Clinicians and researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have a new weapon in their cancer-fighting arsenal — IBM's Watson supercomputer. IBM and Sloan-Kettering are collaborating on the development of a new service featuring Watson, reports Bloomberg's Beth Jinks. The computer will assist doctors in making diagnoses and treatment decisions by mining current information and alerting doctors to new developments and research, Jinks says. A statement from Sloan-Kettering and IBM calls the Watson service a "decision support tool," and says it gives doctors access to much more information than they could possibly gather by themselves. "Watson is being taught oncology and being programmed with the types of questions it will be posed in a similar way to when it was trained for 'Jeopardy!'" Jinks says. "Sloan-Kettering and IBM are already developing the first applications using Watson related to lung, breast, and prostate cancers, and aim to begin piloting the solutions to some oncologists in late 2012, with wider distribution planned for late 2013."