value insights

Look for cognitive systems in IT services marketplace- Valutrics

More than an algorithm

A cognitive system is not just a machine-learning algorithm, though training it to see patterns in data and understand it in context is a big part of it, Hurwitz said. These are huge, complex systems comprising many parts, all resting on the foundation of a public cloud, private cloud or on-premises infrastructure. Layered on top of that are internal and external data sources — unstructured data, such as text, video and images, and structured data, such as database records — and data access and management services.

Another key component of cognitive systems is ontologies. These are databases of knowledge on specific topics the systems churn through and learn from. And at the very top are visualization services on which new applications can be built.

Big research universities may build such systems from scratch to do experimenting, but a marketplace of ontologies and pretested sets of data geared toward specific industries will most likely serve the majority of organizations looking to build data-based applications.

Once the tools are at their disposal, organizations can get started, but they “don’t start with the world; they select a domain, and usually they start with a specific problem that they’re grappling with,” Hurwitz said.