This week's developerWorks newsletter intro: The supercomputer Jeopardy! challenge
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Every so often, it helps to take a Whoa, cool! break -- you know, a moment to reflect on technology that pushes the envelope and restores a sense of wonder to the broader IT conversation (which, let's face it, can get pretty stodgy).
Right now, IBM's Watson supercomputer has our attention in advance of its upcoming debut on the game show Jeopardy! The 80-teraflop machine will go button-to-button with veteran Jeopardy! champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. What's the big deal? No other computer has ever managed to overcome the challenge of comprehending natural language, and preparing Watson for the big match hasn't exactly been a walk in the park. Does the project have applications beyond TV game shows? Well, imagine being able to ask a computer any question and get the exact answer you need, rather than 7,000 search results (and then imagine what that means for, say, business analytics). Yeah, cool.
Should Watson win, it will no doubt raise even more questions -- like what does a supercomputer do with an all-expense-paid trip to Acapulco?
Until next week,
John Swanson and the developerWorks editorial team
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