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Jeopardy: IBM Watson vs Humans? It's a Tie!

Over the next three nights, Jeopardy champs, Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings will face off against IBM’s Watson.

Jeopardy matched up two of its best players ever against the nonhuman opponent Watson! The long-running game show began its “IBM Challenge” Monday by having champs Jennings and Rutter play against Watson, a supercomputer that IBM programmers have been using to perfect natural-language processing.

An avatar for the computer sits on stage because the actual computer is roughly the size of 10 refrigerators. But the big news is that the humans held their own, at least through the first round.

Watson — who received information via text files at the same time Alex Trebek read the questions — jumped off to a fast start. Midway through the first round, the computer had $5,200 to Rutter’s $1,000 and Jennings’ $200.

Aaron Weber who is the Data and Analytics Manager for Spiral16 web monitoring and business intelligence talks about how why the Jeopardy match is significant:

“From a technological point of view, Watson represents a sizable stepping stone in natural language processing and heuristic semantic analysis, far more so a feat than the pure math attack that allowed IBM’s Deep Blue to defeat Chess Grandmaster Gary Kasparov in 1996.”

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