IBM's Smarter game show goes live today
Remember today at 4:30 p.m., Big Blue will take the national stage as it introduces its sci-fi smart Watson computer to the world as a contestant on the Jeopardy! quiz show.
In case you missed it Friday, here's some from my piece about this latest IBM computing milestone:
Whether IBM's new computer dubbed Watson wins or loses next week as it competes on the Jeopardy! quiz show, expect to see this "science fiction smart" milestone machine move beyond playing games.
"In the future, Watson could easily become Dr. Watson and become an adviser to a doctor," says Ian Jarman, Power Systems software manager. "Because it is based on Rochester's Power 750, we can adapt and commercial that technology for other workloads. One first area like that is health care."
It won't replace human brains, but "it is much closer to emulating the human brain. This is really the first time we've come close to that," said Tim Alpers, Rochester's Power Product Manager.
Watson will take the stage with Alex Trebeck to compete head-to-head for $1 million with the best contestants in show's 28 years on the air — Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. They will compete live Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Jennings and Rutter will face 10 refrigerator-sized racks filled with 90 Power 750 servers built in Rochester. Running on a Linux operating system, it can complete about 80 trillion computer operations per second.
Watson will not be connected to the Internet and it will need to decipher puns and plays on words that are often used in Jeopardy's questions and categories.
Unlike IBM's one-of-a-kind Deep Blue computer, which played chess against chess master Gary Karpov, this human-like system is based on standard and commercially available Power 750 servers, which are manufactured as well as partially designed here.
"Watson's secret sauce is DeepQA," said Jarman.
The IBM research team has spent four years developing DeepQA to understand the complexity of how people talk. That means figuring out sarcasm, jokes and other fluid turns of phrase that children can understand, but have traditionally bewildered computer's rigid programming.
"With DeepQA, we are creating a framework where the computer can essentially make up its own rules. It is an entirely different paradigm for a system to work in," said Henry Hocraffer, IBM's Power Software program director in Rochester. "We are on the cusp of entering an area that has always been science fiction."