February 17, 2012 – The next evolution of IBM’s game-show winning analytics supercomputer is in increased access and the cloud.

In a blog on the vendor’s site, Watson lead researcher David Ferrucci outlined the developing interconnectivity in the new era of data processing by “intelligent machines.” To that end, IBM is working on offerings of Watson’s high-powered analytics and information retrieval capabilities onsite or in a cloud environment. Ferrucci described a four-point plan for Watson’s development to provide more and better predictive analytics predictive analytics over massive and varying data sets in an environment shared “as if exploring a simulated world.”

“We’ll extend the information that Watson understands from specific questions to problem-solving scenarios. We’ll shift from simple question-and-answer interactions with humans to rich conversations. We’ll enhance Watson’s ability to explain its results. And, finally, we’ll change how Watson learns. Instead of depending on human programs to feed it information in batches, Watson will be able gather information continuously and learn deeply about specific domains of knowledge,” wrote Ferrucci.

Four years after it was first developed, IBM unveiled the data crunching computer named for the company’s founder last February in a dominating performance against two human competitors on the TV trivia show, “Jeopardy!” Big Blue rolled out new applications and partnerships harnessing Watson’s analytics throughout 2011, including connections with hospital diagnoses and data quality, and expansions into financial data.