Jeopardy’s man vs. machine challenge

A battle of the minds

In the third and final night of man vs. machine on Jeopardy in February, IBM’s Watson supercomputer trounced its champion opponents.

By Sharon Gaudin

Watson makes a comeback

After a slow start that saw the computer’s human opponents Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter outpacing Watson, the supercomputer made a decisive comeback. At the end of the final game, Watson came away with the big win, racking up a total of $77,147, compared to $24,000 for Jennings and $21,600 for Rutter.

Read More: IBM supercomputer wins first Jeopardy dust up

Big computing advancements

IBM’s Jeopardy-playing supercomputer has been touted by some observers to be one of the biggest computing advancements in the past several decades.

Read more: IBM’s Watson lands health care job about Jeopardy victory

The science behind the computer

An IBM team of scientists spent four years building a computer system that can rival a human in answering questions posed in natural language. While IBM has been fairly mum about the bulk of Watson’s architecture, it has acknowledged that it is powered by an IBM Power 7 server.

Read more:

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The man behind the machine

David Ferrucci, the scientist leading the Watson team, said in a previous interview with Computerworld US that the challenge of natural language processing can be intense because of the many ways the same information can be conveyed.

Read more: Elementary my dear Watson – IBM supercomputer may take on Jeopardy stars

Category challenges

While Watson did well with deciphering the questions on the game show, the supercomputer did have some difficulties with a few categories, like “Actors who Direct.”

Watson comes out on top

In the end, Watson won the $1 million grand prize, which is slated to go to charity. Jennings received $300,000 and Rutter got $200,000. Both men said they will donate half of their winnings to charities.

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