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They’re not standing around the watercooler, but Cheryl Sadler, Mark Meszoros, Mark Podolski and Nicole Franz are talking about what they’ve been watching, listening to and playing during their free time.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This is Jeopardy! against a computer

"Jeopardy!" is a favorite among the night staff at The News-Herald, so we're getting pretty excited for what is coming next week.

The Associated Press
Feb. 14, 15 and 16, an IBM computer named Watson will compete on the game show against top champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

From The Associated Press:
Watson is powered by 10 racks of IBM servers running the Linux operating system. It's not connected to the Internet but has digested encyclopedias, dictionaries, books, news, movie scripts and more.
The system is the result of four years of work by IBM researchers around the globe, and although it was designed to compete on "Jeopardy!" the technology has applications well beyond the game, said John Kelly III, IBM director of research. He said the technology could help doctors sift through massive amounts of information to draw conclusions for patient care, and could aid professionals in a wide array of other fields.
"What Watson does and has demonstrated is the ability to advance the field of artificial intelligence by miles," he said.
Watson, named for IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, is reminiscent of IBM's famous Deep Blue computer, which defeated chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. But while chess is well-defined and mathematical, "Jeopardy!" presents a more open-ended challenge involving troves of information and complexities of human language that would confound a normal computer.

Maybe this makes us uber nerds, but how cool is that!?!?!? A showdown between Jennings and Rutter would already be must-see (nerd) TV. Throw in a computer that could handily beat both of them? We are so there.

This computer will be used for entertainment, but the implications beyond that are immeasurable. Imagine the hours of research time that could be saved by having a computer do the dirty work. Maybe you would still need an expert to review important information, but a computer could find what you need more quickly than humanly possible.

We are totally on Team Watson, and Executive Editor Tricia Ambrose has said she might be on Team Brad (she hasn't confirmed this recently, so we won't hold her to that). Fellow copy editor Robin Palmer said she is rooting for Ken. Who would you like to see win?

Click here to read the complete article about the upcoming episodes.

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl
Danielle Capriato |

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Blogger Brian said...

They should make it a showdown between them, and a fast typing normal guy with a laptop.

February 8, 2011 at 2:53 PM 

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