Can SOI power help IBM’s Watson win at “Jeopardy!”?

Shortly after I wrote this morning’s blog post on FD-SOI, my colleague in Cadence Global Marketing Tim Fahey wrote to tell me that IBM’s Jeopardy!-playing computer named Watson was powered by SOI. (I wrote about Watson last week, see “Being human is the ultimate app. IBM’s Watson plays Jeopardy!”) Tim heard about IBM’s use of SOI for Watson’s processors on a teleconferencing call with IBM just this morning. A little Googling turned up this new White Paper from IBM that tells all about Watson’s 32-bit SOI processors. They’re Power7 server processors fabricated in IBM’s 45nm SOI process technology. Each processor runs at 3.55GHz and Watson uses a total of 2880 processors in the 90 clustered IBM Power 750 servers that comprise the computer. In this case, SOI is contributing to both the speed and the reduced power consumption of the processors.

Watson’s debut on “Jeopardy!” is tonight.


About sleibson2

EDA360 Evangelist and Marketing Director at Cadence Design Systems (blog at
This entry was posted in Apps, EDA360, Silicon Realization. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Can SOI power help IBM’s Watson win at “Jeopardy!”?

  1. Adele HARS says:

    Hi Steve —
    When the Jeopardy story came out, I was reminded of a piece Dr. Iyer of IBM did a few years ago on SOI for memory design at 45nm. In the “why SOI” of things, it seemed to me that his explanation of the complexity-saving role of SOI in eDRAM manufacturing was worth noting. I blogged about it at . Would love to hear what you think about looking at it from this perspective.
    – Adele

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