Thursday, December 16, 2010

Man vs Machine Redoux

In 1996, two IBM staffers succeeded in building a computer that was ready to take on world champion chess player Garry Kasparov.

6-0, man wins.

Learning even in defeat, the aptly-named Deep Blue made history by defeating Kasparov 3.5 games to 2.5 games in a 1997 rematch.

Move over, Deep Blue: it's time for Watson to take the stage.

In February 2011, a computer named Watson (for IBM founder Thomas Watson) will take on two humans in a battle to the end...

... in the game show Jeopardy!

“After four years, our scientific team believes that Watson is ready for this challenge based on its ability to rapidly comprehend what the Jeopardy! clue is asking, analyze the information it has access to, come up with precise answers, and develop an accurate confidence in its response,” IBM scientist David Ferrucci said in a statement. “Beyond our excitement for the match itself, our team is very motivated by the possibilities that Watson’s breakthrough computing capabilities hold for building a smarter planet and helping people in their business tasks and personal lives.”

Ken Jennings (biggest money winner) and Brad Rutter (most games won) will square off against Watson in a three-way duel of the arcane and useless.

Be still my trivia-saturated brain...

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