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Tag: Super Computer

SPOILER ALERT: Watson Is The New King Of Jeopardy!

Posted by Alan at 7:00 PM on February 16, 2011

If you aren’t in the Eastern time zone or you recorded tonight’s episode of Jeopardy! for later viewing then you may want to stop reading now.  But if you have seen the show or don’t plan to watch it or don’t know what the heck I’m talking about then read on.

Day three, the final day, has just wrapped up and the final score was not particularly close, although round 2 proved to be a bit more exciting.  As for final tallies, Watson racked up $77,147 to Ken Jennings’ $24,000 and Brad Rutter’s $21,600.  However, during tonight’s round 2, Jennings took a brief lead over the IBM supercomputer.

We did learn a few things along the way.  One was that Watson’s algorithm for wagering money is incomprehensible.  It’s bets were always amounts that seemed to make little sense based on it’s total or the totals of its opponents.  Another was that it did not receive information on it’s opponents answers – at one point, after Jennings buzzed in first and gave an incorrect answer, Watson buzzed in and gave the same answer.  We learned that Watson thinks Toronto is a US city.  We even learned that Ken Jennings has a sense of humor.  In round 2, after hitting the daily double, he joked that his two choices were to either “unplug Watson or bet everything”.  During Final Jeopardy of round 2 he wrote his answer as “Bram Stoker (I for one welcome our new computer overlords)”

Watson, made by IBM who also created Deep Blue, is powered by 90 32-core IBM Power 750 Express servers with a total of 16 terabytes of memory and can calculate hundreds algorithms simultaneously.  Or, in short, it was an amazing display of technology and a lot of fun to watch.  This was a Geek’s dream TV show.