IBM's Watson Supercomputer To Compete On Jeopardy Game Show

A game show with two award winners, a famed host, and a supercomputer as a contestant. What is Jeopardy? That's actually correct. Next month, Jeopardy will air a series of episodes with just two human contestants, and one human host. Brad Rutter, Alex Trebek and Ken Jennings will be joined by a rather unusual opponent and guest, an IBM-built supercomputer named Watson. Jennings and Rutter are two of Jeopardy's most winning players ever, while Watson has never actually played on-air before. How will the machine do? Will it embarrass itself? Or will it dominate the humans much like supercomputers have dominated chess champions of this world?


It's hard to say for sure, but IBM has been perfecting Watson for quite some time. The machine is highly programmed, and is capable of understanding spoken English as well as responding in English. In a practice round held this month, Watson actually came out on top of the two prior champions. That's not to say that it won't falter when facing tougher questions in later rounds when the real show airs, but it bodes well for Watson at this point. It'll probably be very competitive; the computer system that IBM has designed has loads of algorithms programmed within, and it has shown an exceptional ability to know when to buzz in, and to buzz in fast.

Will Watson's appearance mean that more computers will be competing against humans in the future? We have our doubts, but we'll no doubt be tuned in for the showdown starting Feb. 14th. Also, there's some serious prize money up for grabs, but lots of charities will benefit no matter who comes out on top. The grand prize for this competition will be $1 million, with second place earning $300,000, and third place earning $200,000. Rutter and Jennings will donate 50 percent of their winnings to charity, and IBM will donate 100 percent of its winnings to charity.

Jeopardy! And IBM Announce Charities To Benefit From Watson Competition

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. - 13 Jan 2011: At a press conference today, Jeopardy! and IBM (NYSE:IBM) revealed the non-profit beneficiaries of the upcoming contest between two of the most celebrated Jeopardy! Champions – Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings – and IBM’s “Watson” computing system.

The first-ever man vs. machine Jeopardy! competition will air on February 14, 15 and 16, 2011, with two matches being aired over three consecutive days. The grand prize for this competition will be $1 million, with second place earning $300,000, and third place earning $200,000. Rutter and Jennings will donate 50 percent of their winnings to charity, and IBM will donate 100 percent of its winnings to charity.

Jeopardy! Host and Contestants

Jeopardy Host and Contestants -  (l. to r.) Brad Rutter, Alex Trebek, Ken Jennings

IBM will split its total winnings between each of the following charities:

    * World Vision: World Vision is an international humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision achieves this through community development, disaster relief and advocacy in nearly 100 countries. In partnership with World Vision, communities access the knowledge and resources needed to improve the well-being of children and overcome poverty. For disaster preparedness and response, World Vision identifies places at risk of disaster, pre-positions resources and staff in high-risk zones, and builds capacity and resiliency among communities to help them protect themselves before an emergency and rebuild afterwards. World Vision’s advocacy work involves engaging institutions and the public to address global problems that perpetuate poverty, as well as empowering communities to advocate on their own behalf. For more information, visit www.worldvision.org.
Via:  Reuters

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