IBM Releases Watson-Based AI and Data Platform: 'watsonx'

IBM, once a pioneering force in the advanced AI space, may have lost ground in generative AI, but it's actively working to regain its lead with a new enterprise offering known as "watsonx."

watsonx (lower case per IBM) builds upon the foundation of the company's Watson AI platform, a name well-recognized by those who witnessed an IBM supercomputer of the same name triumph over human contestants on the television quiz show "Jeopardy!" in 2011. IBM also made significant strides in specialized machine learning algorithms with the creation of Deep Blue, which earned fame as a chess champion supercomputer.

IBM's watsonx platform comprises three parts:

  • This is a new studio for foundation models, generative AI, and machine learning. IBM says it can help organizations train, validate, tune, and deploy foundation and machine learning models with ease.
  • This is for scaling AI workloads, for all data, anywhere with a fit-for-purpose data store built on an open lakehouse architecture.
  • watsonx.governance: This enables responsibility, transparency and explainability in data and AI workflows, helping organizations to direct, manage and monitor its AI activities.

While the first two are now available, general availability of watsonx.governance is expected in November.

IBM in May announced watsonx and on July 11 revealed that it has been shaped by more than 150 users across industries participating in its beta and tech preview programs.

"Today in, AI builders can leverage models from IBM and from the Hugging Face community for a range of AI development tasks," IBM said. "The models are pre-trained to support a range of Natural Language Processing (NLP) type tasks including question answering, content generation and summarization, text classification and extraction. Future releases will provide access to a greater variety of IBM-trained proprietary foundation models for efficient domain and task specialization."

Along with foundation models, also features a Prompt Lab for prompt engineering to query large language models (LLMs), with a Tuning Studio coming soon to help organizations tune their foundation models with labeled data for better performance and accuracy.

"Over the next year, watsonx will continue to evolve and we expect to make significant releases," IBM said. "We will be focused on expanding enterprise foundation model use cases beyond NLP and operationalizing 100B+ parameter models for bespoke, targeted use cases -- opening the door to broader enterprise adoption.

"We will also bring to bear the strength of our AI governance capabilities -- helping organizations to implement end-to-end lifecycle governance, mitigate risk and manage compliance to the growing AI and industry regulations. AI governance should never be an afterthought, so we encourage our customers begin governance of their ML models and foundation models at the outset."

The new offering is available in a free trial before pricing kicks in.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.