For IBM, Valentine’s Day is not about flowers and chocolates. It’s about categories and questions as supercomputer Watson tries to beat the two greatest Jeopardy champions, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, at their game.
Ken Jennings holds the most consecutive number of wins in Jeopardy at 74 weeks while Brad Rutter is the all-time biggest money winner in the show. Watson well… is just a question-answer supercomputer developed by IBM that has access to more than 200 million pages worth of information contained within its databanks stored in a different floor.
Check out this teaser.
It’s amazing how far IBM went from chess-playing supercomputer Deep Blue that defeated chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov back in 1997. The game of chess has a finite set of moves and endings but Jeopardy? The computer requires an advanced natural language processing, reasoning, knowledge reasoning, information retrieval and machine learning technologies to the field of open domain question answering. Jeopardy is not your basic question and answer game. There is wordplay on the categories that Watson must capture in order to give the correct questions when answering.
There are already trial matches between Watson and other Jeopardy contestants including a practice round with Ken and Brad. Watson won a portion of the round but you can see some traps that it can fall into.
The actual Jeopardy game will be a three-day event that will be aired live from Feb. 14 to 16. I’ll keep you guys posted if I can get a local schedule (if there’s one) of the show.
After Jeopardy, IBM plans to deploy Watson-type of computers in real-life applications in the finance, healthcare and customer service industry to reach the goal of a smarter planet.