IBM recently announced that IBM computing system named “Watson” will compete on Jeopardy!
against the show’s two most successful "Grand Champion" contestants -- Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Watson is a breakthrough human achievement in the scientific field of
Question and Answering, also known as "QA." The Watson software is
powered by an IBM POWER7 server optimized to handle the massive number
of tasks that Watson must perform at rapid speeds to analyze complex
language and deliver correct responses to Jeopardy!
The shows will be aired on Feb. 14-16, 2011 and it will be interesting to watch. I remember watching the play-by-play on the Deep Blue chess match against Garry Kasparov. It was impressive to see IBM Deep Blue win the match, but remember chess is a game that has fixed set of variables and a finite set of possible moves for each play. This endeavor competing on Jeopardy is much more complex. Using natural language processing to decipher puns, riddles, and word clues is very difficult. The range of topics in Jeopardy is enormous and the correct "questions" need to be determined in a matter of seconds. (Watson will need to buzz in within a few mili-seconds after the answer is read or Jennings/Rutter could easily win the game.)
Good luck to all, it should be an exciting game.
Manager, IBM Emerging Technologies Development