IBM Artificial Intelligence Supercomputer Watson Wins TV Quiz Show Jeopard

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IBM Artificial Intelligence Supercomputer Watson Wins TV Quiz Show Jeopardy in a Man vs Machine MatchiTechWhiz - (Feb 23, 2011) Watson a machine is the hero of this week and talk of the town. It captured attention while competing against two humans in Quiz Game Show "Jeopardy" on NBC.

Watson, a supercomputer technically speaking, is an enormously powerful new IBM computer that has just soundly defeated two of the show's most successful contestants ever, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. IBM has donated the $1 million winnings to charity.

The IBM Watson computer is named for Thomas J. Watson Sr., legendary leader of the corporation, who brilliantly transformed a conventional business information processing firm into a global commercial giant, which dominated business data processing for decades.
"Jeopardy" is American favourite Quiz that features trivia in History, Literature, Arts, Culture, Science, Sports, Geography, Wordplay and much more. The show has a unique answer-and-question answer format in which contestants are presented with clues in the form of answers, and must phrase their responses in question form. The show has a decades long broadcast history in the USA since its creation by Merv Griffin in 1964.
The computer's program possesses a breakthrough ability to generate insights that seem like human imagination, plus a capacity to learn from experience. This goes far beyond conventional computer processes, which involve repetitious correlation of specific information items, albeit in massive amounts.

Not surprisingly, this new computer program disturbs people who regard machines as inherently threatening, a fear as old as the Industrial Revolution.

Watson a descendant of Chess Champion, Deep Blue

Computer innovation is intertwined with other human initiatives. During the 1950s, rapid advances in miniaturizing transistor components was crucial to fulfill President John F. Kennedy's adventurous, soaring promise that the United States would land men on the Moon and return them safely to Earth before the end of his decade, the risk oriented tumultuous 1960s. Technological advance directly related to our space program facilitated the development of small personal computers in the 1970s.

IBM has a long tradition of setting 'Grand Challenges' for itself as a way of driving internal Research and Innovation as well as demonstrating its technical smarts to The World. IBM executives, programmers and technicians have made remarkable progress since they began development four years ago of an advanced computer capable of competing on "Jeopardy".

A previous challenge was The Chess Match staged in 1997 between IBM’s Supercomputer "Deep Blue" and the then World Chess Champion, "Garry Kasparov". As shocking as it seemed at the time, a computer capable of beating the best chess player in the world proved only that the machine had enough computational horsepower to perform the rapid logical analysis needed to cope with the combinatorial explosion of moves and counter moves. In no way did it demonstrate that Deep Blue was doing something even vaguely intelligent.
According to Dr Ferrucci, it would take two hours for one of the fastest processors to answer a simple natural-language question. To stand any chance of winning, contestants on "Jeopardy!" have to hit the buzzer with a correct answer within three seconds. For that reason, Watson was endowed with no fewer than 2880 Power750 Chips spread over 90 Servers. Flat out, the machine can perform 80 Trillion Calculations in a second. For comparison sake, a modern PC can manage around 100 billion calculations a second maximum.
Another challenge that IBM engineers achieved with Watson, is copying the facility the human brain has to use experience-based short-cuts (Heuristics) to perform tasks. Computers have to do this using lengthy step-by-step procedures (Algorithms).

Watson is a horizon to endless Future Applications

Meanwhile, IBM is taking public bows, enjoying and exploiting the sudden celebrity of its electronic genius, and promoting practical applications of the programming wizardry involved. Not surprisingly, given our current absence of national desire for adventure, the company is focusing on medical care.
On Feb 17, International Business Machines Corp (IBM) has announced an alliance research agreement with Nuance Communications Inc (NUAN), a provider of speech-recognition technology, to explore, develop and commercialize" the Watson computing systems Advanced Analytic capabilities in the health-care industry. Columbia University Medical Center and The University of Maryland School of Medicine will be contributing their medical expertise and research for the purpose.
Long term, Watson's progeny could help people sift through the thousands of possibilities they confront in their public and private lives, and come up with handfuls of appropriate recommendations whether in medical diagnosis and treatment, legal precedents, investment opportunities, design configurations or whatever. Your correspondent looks forward to the day when such a superior intellect can do his thinking for him.
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