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Ibm's Watson Edges Harvard Students in 'jeopardy!' Quiz

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Harvard Business School's Watson opponents

The Harvard team led Watson after a sizable Daily Double wager, but lost when it was out-wagered in final Jeopardy! despite answering correctly.

Credit: IDG

IBM's Watson supercomputer recently defeated teams of students from Harvard Business School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT's) Sloan School of Management in a Jeopardy! quiz-show battle. The supercomputer and the Harvard team got the final answer correct, but Watson placed a higher wager on the final clue to win the competition.

Watson did not compete head-to-head — instead, it answered each question ahead of time, and its answers and speed of reply were loaded into a different computer that was used to play the game. However, the software used for game strategy was run in real time, notes IBM researcher David Ferrucci.

Watson combines software for natural language processing and other tasks with a hardware cluster containing 2,880 Power processor cores, and IBM also prepared its vast content archive for answering Jeopardy! questions.

The Harvard and MIT teams were better at using clues that involved different types of wordplay, such as providing the equivalent of "George W.'s rumps," with "Bush's tushes" being the correct answer. And the supercomputer was not always adept at parsing human language.

From IDG News Service
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Abstracts Copyright © 2011 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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