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I.B.M. Supercomputer ‘Watson’ to Challenge ‘Jeopardy’ Stars @ NYTimes.com

An I.B.M. supercomputer system named after the company’s founder, Thomas J. Watson Sr., is almost ready for a televised test: a bout of questioning on the quiz show “Jeopardy.”

I.B.M. and the producers of “Jeopardy” will announce on Tuesday that the computer, “Watson,” will face the two most successful players in “Jeopardy” history, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, in three episodes that will be broadcast Feb. 14-16, 2011.

Each year I’ve emailed IBM and requested that they post the source code to Deep Blue (logs here) if IBM is going to challenge (and perhaps beat) humans, the proper thing to do is to release how it was done at some point. There are still people who think IBM cheated Gary Kasparaov in 1997, it’s been more than 10 years – it would be cool to 1) settle this once and for all and 2) for all of us to have a deep blue emulator to hack around with.

On May 11, 1997, the machine won a six-game match by two wins to one with three draws against world champion Garry Kasparov. Kasparov accused IBM of cheating and demanded a rematch, but IBM refused and dismantled Deep Blue.

Pictured above, deep blue costume

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. vrandy.myopenid.com says:

    I wonder how much human interaction will be allowed. Those sorts of rules details can make or break a challenge like this.

    I mean, at one end of the scale you could just have a guy with a laptop looking up Wikipedia entries.

    1. vrandy.myopenid.com says:

      To answer my own question, it looks like there’s very little human interaction. I don’t see how it chooses catagories, so that might be human.
      Other than that it seems almost entirely automated, complete with a servo for pressing the buzzer.

      There is one minor cheat. The computer doesn’t have to read the question off the screen. It gets it in text form over a network of some sort.

  2. oh my god. very good system..