IBM Developing Computing System to Challenge Humans on America's Favorite Quiz Show, Jeopardy! (w/Video)

Apr 27, 2009

For nearly two years, IBM scientists have been working on a highly advanced Question Answering (QA) system, codenamed "Watson." The scientists believe that the computing system will be able to understand complex questions and answer with enough precision and speed to compete on Jeopardy!

Produced by Sony Pictures Television and distributed by CBS Television Distribution, Jeopardy! is a game demanding knowledge and quick recall, covering a broad range of topics, such as history, literature, politics, film, pop culture, and science. It poses a grand challenge for a due to the variety of subject matter, the speed at which contestants must provide accurate responses, and because the clues given to contestants involve analyzing subtle meaning, irony, riddles, and other complexities at which humans excel and computers traditionally do not. Watson will incorporate massively parallel analytical capabilities and, just like human competitors, Watson will not be connected to the Internet or have any other outside assistance.

"The essence of making decisions is recognizing patterns in vast amounts of data, sorting through choices and options, and responding quickly and accurately," said Samuel J. Palmisano, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Watson is a compelling example of how the planet—companies, industries, cities—is becoming smarter. With advanced and deep analytics, we can infuse business and societal systems with intelligence. This project is the latest example of IBM's longstanding commitment to fundamental research and to overcoming 'grand challenges' in science and technology."

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"Jeopardy! is a world-renowned Sony property, and the gold standard for savvy game players everywhere. It is the perfect platform on which IBM can demonstrate its computing power," said Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman, CEO and President, Sony Corporation. "Winning on Jeopardy! is a challenge that audiences embrace every night in record numbers, and we are delighted to be able to expand the form and the possibilities through this exciting new project."

From its precedent-setting taping on the floor of the Consumer Electronics Show to its top-ranking mobile games, Jeopardy! is always on the cutting edge of new technology and available to audiences anytime, anywhere and on any screen. The first syndicated show to be produced in high-definition and the winner of 28 Emmy awards since its debut in 1984, Jeopardy! was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most awards won by a TV Game Show. The series is the #1-rated quiz show in syndication with more than 10 million daily viewers. Jeopardy! is produced by Sony Pictures Television, a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company. It is distributed domestically and internationally by CBS Television Distribution, a unit of CBS Corp.

The research underlying Watson is expected to elevate computer intelligence and human-to-computer communication to unprecedented levels. IBM intends to apply the unique technological capabilities being developed for Watson to help clients across a wide variety of industries answer business questions quickly and accurately.

Provided by IBM

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