IBM computer to take on 'Jeopardy'

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Today, I am going to pass on some very light reading to you; however, it is very interesting.  All about one of IBM’s latest and biggest computers.
To learn more, please read on.
I wish you a great day.
    IBM computer to take on ‘Jeopardy’
 April 28, 2009
Alex Trebek is the host of the popular quiz show ‘Jeopardy.’

IBM, having already come up with a computer that can beat the world’s best
chess players, is gearing up for another challenge.
The US computer giant on Monday announced it was developing a computer to
compete with humans on the popular US television quiz show Jeopardy!
IBM said its scientists have been working for nearly two years on an
advanced computing system codenamed “Watson” — after IBM founder Thomas
Watson, not Sherlock Holmes’s sidekick.
It said the scientists believe “Watson” will be able to eventually compete
on Jeopardy!, a TV show in which contestants provide question-formatted
answers to clues on history, literature, politics, film, pop culture and
IBM said Jeopardy! would pose a stiff challenge for a computing system
because the clues given to the human contestants involve “analyzing subtle
meaning, irony, riddles and other complexities.”
“The essence of making decisions is recognizing patterns in vast amounts of
data, sorting through choices and options, and responding quickly and
accurately,” IBM chairman Samuel Palmisano said.
“Watson will be designed to do all of this in a matter of seconds, which
will enable it to compete against humans, who have the ability to know what
they know in less than a second,” IBM said.
An IBM computer named Deep Blue defeated then-world chess champion Garry
Kasparov in a celebrated man-versus-machine match in 1997.
Developing a computer to compete at Jeopardy! however may be an even more
difficult proposition than defeating the world’s top grandmasters.
“The challenge is to build a system that, unlike systems before it, can
rival the human mind’s ability to determine precise answers to natural
language questions and to compute accurate confidences in the answers,” said
David Ferrucci, leader of IBM’s Watson project team.
“This confidence processing ability is key. It greatly distinguishes the IBM
approach from conventional search, and is critical to implementing useful
business applications of question answering (QA).
“Progress on the underlying QA technologies enabling Watson will be
important in the quest to understand and build ‘intelligent computing
systems’ capable of cooperating with humans in language-related tasks
previously out of reach for computers,” he added.
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About Donna Jodhan

Donna Jodhan is an award winning blind author, advocate, sight loss coach, blogger, podcast commentator, and accessibility specialist.
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