IBM have designed a new supercomputer which is to face two human contestants on the US quiz show Jeopardy.
The computer nicknamed ‘Watson’ will challenge two of the games most successful players. The winner will receive a $1 million prize (£620,000) and the glory to go with it.
IBM have said that Watson is a new pioneering computer which will really be able to understand what people are asking and discussing. Jeopardy is the biggest challenge for Watson because of the fast pacing and clues which can often rely on subtle meanings and puns and even riddles. This is always been a typical failing of a computer.
Rod Smith, IBM’s emerging technology director spoke to BBC news and said “Watson has to come up with an answer based on what information it has in its brain just like any human has in his head. Watson could be connected to the internet all the time, but it won’t be because that is not the way to play Jeopardy. This really is about setting the bar and working through all the data it has in less than three seconds to come up with the right answer.”
Many UKer’s won’t be aware of Jeopardy, but it is a great test of a players knowledge of trivia in a wide ranging list of categories, involving entertainment, geography, history and even politics. Contestants are proved with answers and need to supply the questions. A dollar amount is attached to the questions and then the players with the most amount of money at the end wins the game.
The ‘Watson’ supercomputer has new coding ideas, which relies on analytics to understand what is being asked, and it then has to crunch through huge amounts of data to provide the best answer based on the evidence it finds. This information totals 15 terrabytes of memory, which is about the same size of text in the Library of Congress.
Watson’s brain stores 200 million pages of material and the power required is apparently equal to a small university.
One major advantage that Watson has over the human opponents, is that it will never get intimidated or start to panic. Watson has no ego or feeling of failure, it will simply calculate the data and come up with the best answer.
KitGuru says: IBM staffers will be in attendance at the show, cheering on the computer and hoping it can outperform the human players.