IBM Readies 'Tuning Studio' for AI Prompting in watsonx Enterprise Platform

Years before the dawn of advanced generative AI, IBM spun off its managed infrastructure and made a big "all in" bet on AI and the hybrid cloud. Now it's revealing more playing cards as it faces off against cloud giants Microsoft and Google.

IBM will boost its watsonx enterprise AI/data platform with a raft of enhancements including new generative foundation models and a Tuning Studio to join its Prompt Lab to help users engineer the best prompts to use them.

Prompt engineering became a hot topic with last year's debut of advanced machine learning large language models (LLMs) used to power constructs like the ChatGPT chatbot and Microsoft's "Copilot" AI assistants. The discipline, previously basically unknown, quickly became a hot topic in the IT industry, spawning job offers for top prompt engineers with annual salaries up to $335,000.

Now the Tuning Studio to help users write better prompts is coming to the IBM's enterprise-focused watsonx platform, which the company uses to distinguish itself from generative AI initiatives that can entertain users by writing poems and engaging in human-like conversation. For IBM's new marketing campaign, AI is all about business, giving the company an inroad to catch up to companies that got a head-start in generative AI, like Microsoft, OpenAI and Google.

The company debuted watsonx in July, highlighting three components:

  • This new studio for foundation models, generative AI and machine learning can help organizations train, validate, tune and deploy foundation and machine learning models.
    [Click on image for larger view.] Foundation Models (source: IBM).
  • This is for scaling AI workloads, for all data, anywhere with a fit-for-purpose data store built on an open lakehouse architecture.
    [Click on image for larger view.] Infrastructure Manager (source: IBM).
  • watsonx.governance: This enables responsibility, transparency and explainability in data and AI workflows, helping organizations to direct, manage and monitor its AI activities.
    [Click on image for larger view.] Governance (source: IBM).

The company said its offering featured a Prompt Lab for prompt engineering to query LLMs and an upcoming Tuning Studio to help organizations tune their foundation models with labeled data for better performance and accuracy.

Last week, those plans took more shape with the announcement of more improvements.

"These enhancements include a technical preview for watsonx.governance, new generative AI data services coming to, and the planned integration of foundation models across select software and infrastructure products," the company said in a Sept. 7 news release.

The component will get the Tuning Studio in the third quarter of this year, while a synthetic data generator is already available to help users create artificial tabular data sets from custom data schemas or internal data sets.

"IBM plans to release the first iteration of its Tuning Studio, which will include prompt tuning -- an efficient, low-cost way for clients to adapt foundation models to their unique downstream tasks with their own enterprise data," the company said.

The other two components of the platform will also receive improvements:

  • Generative AI: Planned generative AI capabilities in will help users discover, augment, visualize and refine data for AI through a self-service experience powered by a conversational, natural language interface. The company plans to issue a tech preview in the fourth quarter of this year.
  • Vector database capability: IBM plans to integrate a vector database capability into to support retrieval augmented generation use cases, again in a tech preview in the fourth quarter.


  • Model risk governance for generative AI: This is yet another tech preview, in which clients can explore capabilities for automated collection and documentation of foundation model details and model risk governance capabilities. IBM said these help stakeholders view relevant metrics in dashboards of their enterprise-wide AI workflows with approvals' so humans are engaged at the right times.

The watsonx platform will also be augmented with several AI assistants to help users in application modernization, customer care and human resources/talent and so on.

Furthermore, the company plans to embed tech across its hybrid cloud software and infrastructure products. The company years ago made big news by splitting itself up, going forward with a focus on on AI and hybrid cloud while spinning off its managed infrastructure.

For the cloud, IBM last week highlighted:

  • Intelligent IT automation: Slated for a tech preview this week, IT automation products Instana and AIOps Insights will include Intelligent Remediation, which embeds generative AI foundation models to help IT pros with summarization of incident details, as well as provide prescriptive workflow suggestions to help engineers quickly implement solutions.
  • Developer services for watsonx: As part of an effort to help simplify and accelerate developers' ability to bring watsonx capabilities closer to their companies' data on IBM Power for SAP workloads, SAP ABAP SDK for watsonx is expected to ship early next year, helping clients use AI to inference near their data on Power systems and deploy AI algorithms on their most sensitive data and transactions.

IBM also plans to this month introduce new Granite series of generative AI models to join the new Meta's Llama 2-chat 70 billion parameter model and the StarCoder LLM for code generation available in on IBM Cloud.

"As demonstrated by the ongoing rollout of the watsonx platform within just a few months since launch, we are here to support clients through the entire AI lifecycle" said exec Dinesh Nirmal. "As a transformation partner, IBM is collaborating with clients to help them scale AI in a trustworthy way -- from helping to institute foundational elements of their data strategies to tuning models for their specific business uses cases to helping them govern models beyond that."

The company is showing off some of its new tech at IBM TechXchange Conference, which kicked off today in Las Vegas, running through Thursday.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.


Subscribe on YouTube