I.B.M. Supercomputer to Challenge "Jeopardy!" Stars

By Michael Preston
|  Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010  |  Updated 6:17 AM CDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
PHOTOS: iPhone Madness

Getty Images

Software engineer Ken Jennings spent his spare time practicing for a chance to appear on - and hopefully even win - Jeopardy!. In 2004, his strategy paid off. Jennings won an unprecedented 74 rounds of the show, becoming the record holder for longest winning streak on the quiz show. He won $2,520,700 during his winning streak, $2,000 for second place when he lost his 75th round, and another $500,000 in the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions.

Photos and Videos
More Photos and Videos

The ultimate show down between man and machine may end up looking a lot more like an encounter with HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey rather than with the murderous cyborgs depicted in the Terminator franchise if I.B.M. has its way.

The latest supercomputer from the legendary tech company is set to take on two of the most successful contestants in the history of the game show Jeopardy! next year, reports the New York Times.

Named "Watson" in honor of I.B.M. founder Thomas J. Watson Sr., the machine will face a stiff challenge in the forms of Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter over a three episode run set to air February 14-16, 2011. Jennings holds the record for the show's longest winning streak and is also the leading all-time leading money winner in American game show history while Rutter is undefeated in Jeopardy! competition and is the show's all-time money winner. 

The company believes that the machine represents an evolution in artificial intelligence. In a news release, I.B.M. said that having "Watson" get peppered with questions by Alex Trebek will be the "ultimate challenge" because "the game's clues involve analyzing subtle meaning, irony, riddles, and other complexities in which humans excel and computers traditionally do not."

If "Watson" wins the contest, the $1 million cash prize will be donated to charity. If one of the human contestants wins, they will keep half and the other $500,000 will go to charity.

Selected Reading: New York Times, Associated Press, Washington Post

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
What's New
Get Our Weather App
Stay ahead of the storm with the NBC 5... Read more
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out