IBM's Watson supercomputer to open second office near Silicon Valley

Watson, IBM Corp.'s supercomputer that famously competed on the television show "Jeopardy," is coming West.

The technology giant said Thursday it planned to open a second headquarters in San Francisco early next year for the project, which represents one of the most advanced investments in .

The move, which includes giving developers access to Watson's technologies, will help IBM connect with data scientists and startups in Silicon Valley.

"Since introducing the Watson development platform, thousands of people have used these technologies in new and inventive ways, and many have done so without extensive experience as a coder or data scientist," Mike Rhodin, for IBM Watson, said in a statement. "We believe that by opening Watson to all, and continuously expanding what it can do, we are democratizing the power of data, and with it innovation."

The San Francisco Bay Area has emerged as a world center in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and others are also investing heavily in those areas. One result: voice recognition on smartphones.

The Armonk, N.Y.-based-IBM said Watson has been improved in key areas. They include a better understanding of the ambiguities of language, image recognition, and the ability to create software for languages other than English, such as Japanese, Mandarin and Spanish.

Watson appeared on "Jeopardy" in 2011, dominating human rivals with its encyclopedic knowledge. The computer has since branched out into the medical field, helping doctors understand medical records and treatments.

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