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IBM supercomputer will compete on Jeopardy

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Dec 2010 6:28 User comments (7)

IBM supercomputer will compete on Jeopardy IBM's supercomputer "Watson" will take on human contestants on "Jeopardy" this coming February, taking on all-time champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.
In 2005, Ken Jennings won 74 straight games en route to $2.5 million in earnings. Rutter did not win as many games, but took home $3.2 million, the highest ever.

Watson will take on Rutter and Jennings over a three-day period and the winner will receive $1 million. Second place gets $300,000 and third gets $200,000. IBM will donate all their winnings to charity and Jennings and Rutter will donate half.

Jeopardy is seen as a high-level test of Watson's ability "to think in a human-like way, not only being able to retrieve information when requested—as is done with a normal Google search request—but also to go through its vast database of information, make the necessary connections and pick up on the subtle nuances, puns and riddles necessary to answer questions," says eWeek.

IBM says they have run Watson through at least 50 "mock games" of Jeopardy against former participants on the show, and the machine has managed to win some, but lose others.

Watson was solely created to "answer questions posed in natural language, and to do so quickly and correctly."

Adds David Ferrucci, part of the IBM Research behind Watson: "After four years, our scientific team believes that Watson is ready for this challenge based on its ability to rapidly comprehend what the Jeopardy clue is asking, analyze the information it has access to, come up with precise answers, and develop an accurate confidence in its response. Beyond our excitement for the match itself, our team is very motivated by the possibilities that Watson's breakthrough computing capabilities hold for building a smarter planet and helping people in their business tasks and personal lives."

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7 user comments

114.12.2010 19:03

Computer is only as smart as the people who make it and run it. It doesn't need to be smarter than it needs to be.

214.12.2010 22:40

It probably needs to be smarter than it is to win this game. The trivia itself isn't really the trick; it is figuring out the exact question asked, then finding the exact answer needed from search results. It seems easy for us humans; any human on this show with a high speed internet connection would be called a cheater...but the hard part for humans is the easy part for the computer, and vice-versa.

315.12.2010 01:54

Watson was solely created to "answer questions posed in natural language...

Crap. I can see how this is going to play out...

Trebek: This is the sound a doggy makes. [Watson buzzes in] Yes, Watson.
Watson: Moo.
Trebek: No.
Watson: Well, that's the sound your mother made last night!
Trebek: We would have accepted "bow wow" or "ruff"
Watson: Ah, ruff! Just how your mother likes it, Trebek!

415.12.2010 03:01

LoL...they really should invest more time into the "yo mamma" would be hilarious to see a trash talking computer.

515.12.2010 03:57

is anyone else thinking skynet?

615.12.2010 06:05

Why bother making a computer to communicate with humans if it only needs to kill them?

716.12.2010 11:19

Compassionate euthanasia..... IBM cares...

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