IBM's Watson Supercomputer To Compete On Jeopardy Game Show

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News Posted: Sun, Jan 16 2011 12:02 PM
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.
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Inspector replied on Mon, Jan 17 2011 12:56 AM

lol, ya i saw a video of this. Good luck beating it. :)

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IBM "Watson use Intel Processors and plenty of RAM I will be interesting to see how it can do the game.. Is I right that "Watson" use Intel Processors?

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So it's more about having tons of complex algorithms rather than a computer able to decipher and distinguish between the nuances of the English language. I don't see much point to this, though a great marketing tool for IBM, reminds me of the chess challenges they did several years ago (Gary Kasparov vs Deep Blue).

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coolice replied on Mon, Jan 17 2011 11:58 PM

haha, I cant WAIT for this.

i'll end my comment by saying.....And then there was Skynet.

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fat78 replied on Wed, Jan 19 2011 10:22 AM

100$ on the computer

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realneil replied on Wed, Jan 19 2011 11:09 AM

While playing this game show is really special,...............we want to know,......will it play Crysis on full? Big Smile

Mike Coyne:
IBM "Watson use Intel Processors and plenty of RAM I will be interesting to see how it can do the game.. Is I right that "Watson" use Intel Processors?

No, it's not an Intel Computer. It uses IBM Power 7 inside. (I should note that this 'IBM Watson' has a crap-load of these CPU's in it) I searched and couldn't find out exactly how many though.

Read More Here.

POWER7 has these specifications:

  • 45 nm SOI process, 567 mm2
  • 1.2 billion transistors
  • 3.0 – 4.25 GHz clock speed
  • max 4 chips per quad-chip module
    • 4, 6 or 8 cores per chip
      • 4 SMT threads per core
      • 12 execution units per core:
        • 2 fixed-point units
        • 2 load/store units
        • 4 double-precision floating-point units
        • 1 vector unit supporting VSX
        • 1 decimal floating-point unit
        • 1 branch unit
        • 1 condition register unit
    • 32+32 kB L1 instruction and data cache (per core)
    • 256 kB L2 Cache (per core)
    • 4 MB L3 cache per core with maximum up to 32MB supported. The cache is implemented in eDRAM, which does not require as many transistors per cell as a standard SRAM so it allows for a larger cache while using the same area as SRAM.

This gives the following theoretical performance figures (based on a 4.04 GHz 8 core implementation):

  • max 33.12 GFLOPS per core
  • max 264.96 GFLOPS per chip

 

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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