[Cyborg] Watson supercomputer plays Jeopardy

Eric Boyd mrericboyd at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 15 18:52:30 UTC 2011


Most classic moment in the practice session?  Watson says "let's finish 
Chicks Dig Me".  Both other contestants and the host visibly suppress 
laughter :-)

You can see Watson LOOSE in this video from about 6 months ago:

Specs: Watson is a Linux system that is powered by 10 refrigerator-sized 
racks of IBM POWER 750, with 15 terabytes of RAM and 2,880 processor 
cores.  That's some serious hardware, and apparently the software is 
equally serious, with hundreds of state-of-the-art AI algorithms running 
in parallel to both understand the question and find the answer.  It has 
200 million+ pages of text source material to work from, and takes about 
3 seconds to crank through everything each time.

Watson will compete against Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter Feb 12-14 on 
television. Apparently the winner will take home $1M - but IBM plans to 
donate it to charity.  It'll be another big event for human-vs-computer 
history, of course - and one that is substantially more impressive than 
winning at chess.  Natural language processing is *much* harder than 
game theory.  If history is any guide, even if Watson doesn't win now, 
you can bet that in 10 years your personal computer will be better at 
Jeopardy (and all similar word-play trivia games) than you can ever hope 
to be.

I for one welcome our new trivia overlords.



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