IBM's Watson is moving West and widening its ambitions.
The company plans to open a second headquarters for Watson, its artificial-intelligence system, in San Francisco in 2016 and eventually employ several hundred people. IBM's Watson group, set up as a separate business in January 2014, has its East Coast headquarters in downtown Manhattan.
But a series of other announcements from the company expected on Thursday may be more significant. They represent the clearest sign so far of IBM's long-term goal: to make Watson the equivalent of a computing operating system for an emerging class of data-fueled artificial-intelligence applications.
IBM explored paths to commercializing the technology after Watson beat human champions in the quiz show "Jeopardy!" in 2011. At first, the company focused on big demonstration projects with big companies and institutions, especially in medicine and health care.
But the plan has broadened, especially in the last year, to move beyond custom work for major clients to creating a growing collection of services, so that software developers at start-ups and elsewhere can easily use them in applications.