Jeopardy is an American quiz show, which was first shown in 1964.
In February 2011, The IBM Challenge programme was shown, which featured IBM’s Watson computer playing against two former Jeopardy champions. The Watson (Artificial intelligence) system is based on commercially available IBM Power 750 servers. It runs on 90 servers, with 2,880 Power7 cores running on 3.55GHz processors. The system has 15TB of memory. It took a team of 30 engineers at IBM, four years to design the system.
The system answered questions posed in natural language, the system beat two of the all time champions of Jeopardy. To win, Watson had to navigate the use of human speech, idioms and cultural references.
In the last 15 years there has been great progress in functional aspects of AI. The system used statistical approaches to simulate certain aspects of human analysis, these are currently used by Amazon and Google, to study people’s behavioural patterns and automatically calibrate their offerings to them.
The Watson system combines different approaches to question answering, from statistical to rules-based. There is no right or wrong approach. The machine grades them by their results, and in the process “learns” which algorithms to trust.
Watson is programmed for uncertainty. It’s never sure it understands the question, and never has 100 percent confidence in its response. The system is good at making sense of complex English questions and then working through millions of electronic documents to search for the answers.
IBM hopes to sell Watson-based technology, or services built around it to a wide range of industries (Technology Help desks being one). Another use maybe, that doctors could ask the machine for diagnoses, or if certain medicines when mixed have proven to cause side-effects.