For 200 Jeopardy Points: Who Is Watson, aka DeepQA?

Ok, my geek side loves this stuff and I wanted to share. 

In my opinion, Mario Piperni’s site has some of the greatest graphics and some of the best articles on the internet.

Mario Piperni

The machines are coming.  Beware or rejoice.

Former Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter lost by $1000 to IBM’s Watson DeepQA-based supercomputer during a three-category Jeopardy practice round Thursday night. The trio will officially square off for a $1 million grand prize during two Jeopardy matches that will air February 14-16.

Watson is IBM’s latest supercomputer based on the company’s DeepQA software, which combines natural language processing, machine learning and information retrieval. The device is packing 15 terabytes RAM, about 2,880 processor cores that can perform 80 trillion operations a second, and is the size of 10 refrigerators according to Wired. Watson will have to rely on its self-contained databases for answers, and won’t be hooked up to the Internet during the Jeopardy challenge.

Watson has now won 65% of its matches against Jeopardy grand champions.  Here’s what Thursday’s match looked like.

Good stuff.  One could imagine the many applications that a smart natural language processing machine of this order could be used for.  Financing, marketing and medical diagnostic analysis are some.  For the latter, imagine a doctor inputting a patient’s symptoms and having a computer giving her a diagnosis based on the zillion medical texts scanned into its database.  It would be like having a second opinion from Dr. House, minus the attitude.

Here’s a link to more info on the inner workings of Watson, it’s algorithms and the future it holds for all of us.