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
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
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
Enough talk. Let's meet the players!
computer programmer & author
74-game winning streak
aspiring TV host & actor
A few things to note before
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
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
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!...
Game 1 in this historic match will
To read all about the tournament
and the contestants, go to