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Two of the best Jeopardy! contestants to ever play the game go up against a literal answer-questioning machine for a $1 million showdown.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN

Host Alex Trebek
Clue Crew Jimmy McGuire
Kelly Miyahara
Sarah Whitcomb
Announcer Johnny Gilbert
Creator Merv Griffin
EP Harry Friedman
Packager Jeopardy Productions & Sony Pictures TV for CBS Television Distribution
Origins TJ Watson Research Center; Yorktown Heights, NY
Web www.jeopardy.com
Airs Weeknights, check local listings
Available In High-Definition Where Available

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Part 1
February 14

In 1996, a chess-playing computer named Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov on the very board that he made famous as reigning grand master.

Now, 15 years later, another computer is set to enter the fray of mental competition and carry the torch for a "smarter planet".

Watson, a supercomputer named after IBM's founder Thomas J. Watson, was developed to understand the complexities "natural language", including puns, slang, turns of phrase, wordplay, and other quirks. Its CPU takes up an entire room, the room next door to be precise. Its two units contain a deep analytic system that total the power of 2800 computers in a super network. Its memory capacity is 15 trillion bytes.

To push its capabilities to their limits, Jeopardy! will pit the computerized player against the two most celebrated opponents to EVER play the game. One has played 23 games in regular and tournament matches UNDEFEATED, amassing a total of $3.25 million, the most ever won by a single contestant on the show. The other has played 74 games, retired 148 players, and currently holds ALMOST every Jeopardy! record in the book, including the most won in regular season play with over $2.5 million.

In a moment, they'll begin two games over three days. The player with the most money at the end will win $1 million dollars.

Enough talk. Let's meet the players!

Ken Jennings
computer programmer & author
74-game winning streak
Yorktown Heights, NY
IBM supercomputer
Brad Rutter
Los Angeles
aspiring TV host & actor
Ultimate champion

A few things to note before we begin...

1) As stated before, the real computer is next to the taping area. What stands behind the podium is Watson's avatar.

2) Watson can neither hear nor see. It will receive all clues electronically as a text-file.

3) If Watson has a high coefficient of confidence in an answer, the rays will turn green. If it's either-or, the rays will turn yellow. If his answer is wrong, the rays will turn red. And as we've seen in companion pieces to this match, Watson will have to analyze the clues and look for key words that will match. So there is a chance that Watson will ring in with an incorrect response.

4) Speaking of ringing in, Watson has a "buzz threshold". If a given response is not up to that threshold, he will not ring in. In that, he is just like any other Jeopardy! contestant. It knows what it knows, and it knows what it doesn't know.

You've heard the talk. You've heard the hype. But that doesn't matter now. It's all about what it can do with the material given. That said, it's now time to see what this bag of brains and bolts can do.


Daily Double: $800 Literary Character APB. Watson leads with $400 to Brad's $200. With only the maximum amount available to him, Watson fronts the max of $1000 on this: wanted for killing Sir Danvers Carew; appearance pale & dwarfish; seems to have a split personality. "Who is Hyde? (71%)" CORRECT for $1400!

At the end of Jeopardy!...

$2,000 $5,000 $5,000
Ken Watson Brad

Game 1 in this historic match will continue tomorrow.

To read all about the tournament and the contestants, go to www.jeopardy.com.