BETWEEN THE LINES
By John Klossner
Internet Explorer’s market
share will fall below
by June 2012 if current
browser usage trends
SOURCE: NE T APPLICATIONS
MOBILE & WIRELESS
King of the
IBM’s Watson to Diagnose Patients
WATSON, IBM’s game-show- playing supercomputer, will soon try its hand at helping physicians diagnose and treat
IBM announced earlier this year that
healthcare would be the first commercial
application for the computer, which defeated
two human champions on the popular television game show “Jeopardy!” in February.
IBM and WellPoint — Blue Cross Blue
Shield’s largest health plan — this month
agreed to jointly create applications that can be
used by doctors and other medical personnel.
The software will use the concept of
“evidence-based medicine,” which centers
around best practices in treating patients.
One simple example of evidence-based medicine would be placing someone who’s had a
heart attack on an aspirin regimen.
Watson consists of 90 IBM Power 750
Express servers powered by 8-core processors
— four in each machine — for a total of 32
processors per machine. The servers are virtualized with a kernel-based virtual machine
scheme, resulting in a server cluster with a
total processing capacity of 80 teraflops. (A
teraflop is one trillion operations per second.)
That horsepower can help medical professionals cull through a lot of information
quickly. Watson can search 200 million pages
of data and provide responses in just seconds.
“Imagine having the ability to take in all
the information around a patient’s medical
care — symptoms, findings, patient inter-
views and diagnostic studies,” said Dr. Sam
Nussbaum, WellPoint’s chief medical officer,
in a statement. “Then, imagine using Watson
analytic capabilities to consider all of the
prior cases, the state-of-the-art clinical knowl-
edge in the medical literature and clinical
best practices to help a physician advance a
diagnosis and advance a course of treatment.”
WellPoint expects to begin using Watson
in clinical pilots early next year.
Android won the smartphone OS
war this year in definitive fashion,
capturing 39% of the market, according to IDC. The research firm
predicted that Android-based
smartphones will dominate the
market in 2015 with a nearly 44%
share, while Apple and Research In
Motion will battle for second place.
Android easily passed last year’s
leader, Nokia’s Symbian OS, whose
market share fell from 36% in 2010
to a projected 21%. Android’s share
jumped more than 15 percentage
points, from 23% in 2010, IDC said.
RIM’s BlackBerry operating system will see its market share slip
from 16% last year to 14% in 2011,
while the share of Apple’s iOS will
increase from 16% last year to 18%
in 2011, IDC predicted. Meanwhile,
Windows Phone will wind up with
less than a 4% share, since it will
soon replace Symbian for Nokia.
Regardless of winners and losers,
there’s been substantial growth in
smartphone use worldwide. IDC
said almost 305 million devices
shipped in 2010 and projected
that this year’s shipments will hit
472 million — a growth rate of 55%.
Future smartphone growth will be
driven largely by the number of applications available, said IDC analyst