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IBM's Jeopardy-winning supercomputer headed to hospitals. Dr. Watson, we presume?

Amar Toor, @amartoo

We always knew that Watson's powers extended well beyond the realm of TV trivia, and now IBM has provided a little more insight into how its supercomputer could help doctors treat and diagnose their patients. Over the past few months, researchers have been stockpiling Watson's database with information from journals and encyclopedias, in an attempt to beef up the device's medical acumen. The idea is to eventually sync this database with a hospital's electronic health records, allowing doctors to remotely consult Watson via cloud computing and speech-recognition technology. The system still has its kinks to work out, but during a recent demonstration for the AP, IBM's brainchild accurately diagnosed a fictional patient with Lyme disease using only a list of symptoms. It may be another two years, however, before we see Watson in a white coat, as IBM has yet to set a price for its digitized doc. But if it's as sharp in the lab as it was on TV, we may end up remembering Watson for a lot more than pwning Ken Jennings. Head past the break for a video from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, which, along with Columbia University, has been directly involved in IBM's program.

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