(Bloomberg) -- IBM’s Watson will be a “huge engine” for the business going forward, according to John Kelly, the company’s senior vice president for solutions portfolio and research.

The Watson unit -- called cognitive computing -- could reach $1 billion in sales in the near-term, he said, without specifying the time frame. Watson is the fastest growing part of International Business Machines Corp.’s analytics business, he said. Those operations brought in about $17 billion in revenue last year, or about 18 percent of sales. Watson is already incremental to the business, Kelly said in an interview.

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