Dec 14, 2010, 23:12 GMT

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IBM announced on Tuesday that its Watson supercomputer will compete in one of the most popular US game shows in February.

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The number-crunching machine is not looking for an easy challenge by competing on something like Are You Smarter Than a Sixth Grader?

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Instead it will take on two of the all-time champs of the legendary game show Jeopardy in an effort to display its ability to think like a human being.

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Jeopardy would seem to present the perfect scenario for such a display given the contestants’ need for non-linear and deductive thinking.

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Created in 1964, Jeopardy is one of the most popular game shows in US history with a unique format in which contestants are presented with clues in the form of answers, to which they must come up with the right question. This challenge is vastly harder than merely beating the human chess champion, which IBM’s Big Blue managed to do when it famously beat Gary Kasparov in 1997.

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‘After four years, our scientific team believes that Watson is ready for this challenge based on its ability to rapidly comprehend what the Jeopardy clue is asking, analyze the information it has access to, come up with precise answers, and develop an accurate confidence in its response,’ David Ferrucci, the scientist leading the IBM Research team that has created Watson, said in a statement Tuesday.

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IBM said the capabilities on display will have real world impacts by inserting automated intelligent decision-making into business, health and government processes.

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The Jeopardy challenge will air on February 14 to February 16 and pit the computer against two champions who have won 2.5 million dollars and 3.2 million dollars each on the show. The winner of the challenge will receive 1 million dollars, with IBM promising to donate its share to charity if it wins.

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San Francisco – Supercomputers have long been able to beat human champions at chess. But how would they fare in game show competitions? We are about to find out.

IBM announced on Tuesday that its Watson supercomputer will compete in one of the most popular US game shows in February.

The number-crunching machine is not looking for an easy challenge by competing on something like Are You Smarter Than a Sixth Grader?

Instead it will take on two of the all-time champs of the legendary game show Jeopardy in an effort to display its ability to think like a human being.

Jeopardy would seem to present the perfect scenario for such a display given the contestants’ need for non-linear and deductive thinking.

Created in 1964, Jeopardy is one of the most popular game shows in US history with a unique format in which contestants are presented with clues in the form of answers, to which they must come up with the right question. This challenge is vastly harder than merely beating the human chess champion, which IBM’s Big Blue managed to do when it famously beat Gary Kasparov in 1997.

‘After four years, our scientific team believes that Watson is ready for this challenge based on its ability to rapidly comprehend what the Jeopardy clue is asking, analyze the information it has access to, come up with precise answers, and develop an accurate confidence in its response,’ David Ferrucci, the scientist leading the IBM Research team that has created Watson, said in a statement Tuesday.

IBM said the capabilities on display will have real world impacts by inserting automated intelligent decision-making into business, health and government processes.

The Jeopardy challenge will air on February 14 to February 16 and pit the computer against two champions who have won 2.5 million dollars and 3.2 million dollars each on the show. The winner of the challenge will receive 1 million dollars, with IBM promising to donate its share to charity if it wins.