Supercomp to compete against 2 humans on TV quiz show

A supercomputer, designed by IBM, is to face two human contestants on a TV quiz show.

Updated: Feb 15, 2011, 15:59 PM IST

London: A supercomputer, designed by IBM, is to face two human contestants on a TV quiz show for a million-dollar cash prize, a media report said.

The quiz show, Jeopardy, which first aired on US television in 1964, tests a player`s knowledge of trivia in a range of categories, from geography and politics to history
and entertainment.

The supercomputer, Watson, will pit its wits against two of the game`s most successful players -- Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, the `BBC` reported.

Jeopardy is seen as the greatest challenge for Watson because of the show`s rapid fire format and clues that rely on subtle meanings, puns, and riddles; something humans excel at and computers do not, the report said.

"Watson has to come up with an answer based on what information it has in its brain just like any human has in his head," Rod Smith, IBM`s emerging technology director, was
quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Jennings told the `Seattle Times` that "it`s nerve-wracking because you know a computer can`t get intimidated. A human player might get frustrated. Watson has
no ego, no consciousness."

In fact, the competition was held inside IBM`s lab in New York and will be broadcast over the next three nights, the report said.

Smith said the end game is about equipping Watson to help us "solve world problems and neighbourhood problems".

"Think about today`s government -- it produces volumes of data and stuff that we don`t even know what to ask. Think about health care or the fact that as we do drug evaluation,
you would like to know the different reactions and the different relationships.

"Well Watson can do these types of things, analyse the data quickly and come up with information that is useful to answer these questions," he said.