By Kareem Yusuf
Today we are announcing that we have begun rolling out IBM watsonx – our enterprise-ready AI and data platform. Previewed at IBM THINK in May, watsonx comprises three products to help organizations accelerate and scale AI – the watsonx.ai studio for new foundation models, generative AI and machine learning (now available); the watsonx.data fit-for-purpose data store, built on an open lakehouse architecture (now available); and the watsonx.governance toolkit to help enable AI workflows to be built with responsibility, transparency and explainability (coming later this year).
Innovating with clients and partners
Watsonx allows clients and partners to specialize and deploy models for various enterprise use cases or build their own. To date, the platform has been shaped by more than 150 users across industries – from telco to banking – participating in the beta and tech preview programs.
Businesses are excited about the prospect of tapping foundation models and machine learning in one place, with their own data, to accelerate generative AI workloads.
“IBM’s launch of watsonx was an awakening,” said Sean Im, Samsung SDS America, “and it has inspired us to explore the immense potential of watsonx.ai’s generative AI capabilities to deliver unprecedented innovations for our clients.”
“In an environment where the integration with our systems and seamless interconnection with various software are paramount, watsonx.ai emerges as a compelling solution,” said Atsushi Hasegawa, chief engineer, Honda R&D. “Its inherent flexibility and agile deployment capabilities, coupled with a robust commitment to information security, accentuates its appeal.”
Citi, a leading global bank serving more than 200 million customers, is delighted to explore the possibilities of generative AI and foundation models within watsonx.
“We’re looking at the potential usage of Large Language Models. I think there’s a huge possibility with that,” said Marc Sabino, MD, Internal Audit, Citi Bank. “The key one [use case] that I think about internally is how do you think about using a LLM to connect your controls to your internal policies and into your regulations.”
IBM is also working with an expanding ecosystem of partners to co-create and innovate across industries and use cases – from space to sports – including work with NASA to build the first foundation model for analyzing geospatial data and Wimbledon, where watsonx was used to produce tennis commentary.
Enabling AI builders
Today in watsonx.ai, AI builders can leverage models from IBM and from the Hugging Face community for a range of AI development tasks. The models are pre-trained to support a range of Natural Language Processing (NLP) type tasks including question answering, content generation and summarization, text classification and extraction. Future releases will provide access to a greater variety of IBM-trained proprietary foundation models for efficient domain and task specialization.
Addressing the global need for foundation models, IBM announced new GPU offerings on IBM Cloud, an AI-tailored infrastructure designed to support enterprise compute-intensive workloads. Later this year, IBM is expected to offer full stack high-performance, flexible, AI-optimized infrastructure, delivered as a service on IBM Cloud, for both training and serving foundation models.
Down to the data
Designed to help clients overcome pervasive data volume, complexity, cost, and governance challenges when scaling AI workloads, watsonx.data allows users to access their data across cloud and on-premises environments through a single point of entry.
And it’s no longer just about the data scientists and engineers – watsonx.data empowers non-technical users with self-service access to its own enterprise high-quality, trusted data in a single collaborative platform, while helping to enable its security and compliance processes through centralized governance and local automated policy enforcement.
Later this year, watsonx.data will leverage watsonx.ai foundation models to help simplify and accelerate the way users interact with data, giving them the ability to use natural language to discover, augment, refine, and visualize data and metadata in a conversational user experience.
What’s next? Keep an eye on watsonx
Over the next year, watsonx will continue to evolve and we expect to make significant releases. We will be focused on expanding enterprise foundation model use cases beyond NLP and operationalizing 100B+ parameter models for bespoke, targeted use cases – opening the door to broader enterprise adoption.
We will also bring to bear the strength of our AI governance capabilities – helping organizations to implement end-to-end lifecycle governance, mitigate risk and manage compliance to the growing AI and industry regulations. AI governance should never be an afterthought, so we encourage our customers begin governance of their ML models and foundation models at the outset.
IBM Consulting’s watsonx practice brings expertise in the generative AI technology stack as well as domain and industry experience that can help accelerate clients’ business transformations. In the same way that we established our successful Hybrid Cloud services business built on the Red Hat OpenShift platform, IBM Consulting intends to be the leading consulting services provider for watsonx.
Businesses are demanding AI that produces accurate and trustworthy results, can scale across clouds, and can be easily adapted to enterprise domains and use cases. Watsonx is designed to help them address those needs. Let’s put AI to work and make the world work better — together.
Statements regarding IBM’s future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice and represent goals and objectives only.
Kareem Yusuf Ph.D is Senior Vice President of Product Management and Growth, IBM Software