Watson (artificial intelligence software)
Watson is an artificial intelligence program developed by IBM designed to answer questions posed in natural language. Named after IBM’s founder, Thomas J. Watson, Watson is being developed as part of the DeepQA research project. The program is in the final stages of completion and will run on a POWER7 processor-based system.
It is scheduled to compete on the television quiz show Jeopardy! as a test of its abilities; the competition will be aired in three Jeopardy! episodes running from February 14–16, 2011. In a set of two games, Watson will compete against Brad Rutter, the current biggest all-time money winner on Jeopardy!, and Ken Jennings, the record holder for the longest championship streak. The winner of the competition will receive $1 million, while the second- and third-place contestants will receive $300,000 and $200,000, respectively. Jennings and Rutter have pledged to donate half their winnings to charity, while IBM will donate 100% of Watson’s winnings to charity. This is the first ever man-vs.-machine competition in Jeopardy!’s history
IBM’s Watson supercomputer destroys all humans in Jeopardy
How IBM’s Watson supercomputer wins at Jeopardy, with IBM’s Dave Gondek
How IBM’s Watson supercomputer wins at Jeopardy, with IBM’s Dave Gondek.
On ‘Jeopardy!’ It’s Man Vs. This Machine
The greatest Jeopardy! champions of all time are returning to the TV screen, and this time they’re not playing just for money — they’re playing for all of humanity.
When we hear language, we bring so much context to interpreting the question that we come up with sensible and reasonable answers. The computer struggles with that.
- David Ferrucci, chief scientist of the IBM Watson project
That’s because they’ll be competing against Watson, a computer system built by IBM to prove that machines can master the kind of tricky human language featured on the quiz show, where confusing clues often involve puns, jokes and wordplay.
Computer experts say this competition is the “natural language processing” equivalent of the 1997 chess match between IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer and world chess champion Garry Kasparov.
Back then, some people downplayed the Deep Blue’s victory, saying that chess basically all boils down to math — so it’s right up a computer’s alley, says Oren Etzioni, director of the Turing Center at the University of Washington in Seattle.
“People said, ‘OK, that’s amazing, but ultimately, look, this is chess, this is something that is very precise, it is very constrained,’ — black and white, if you will,” Etzioni says.
Jeopardy! is a different story. The game is full of the kind of playful human language that has traditionally baffled literal-minded computers. A computer that converses naturally with people has long been an elusive goal for artificial intelligence researchers.