Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

Watson: The Next Ken Jennings?

June 17th, 2010 / in Uncategorized / by Ran Libeskind-Hadas

Ken Jennings, the man known for his record-breaking streak of 74 consecutive wins and $2.52 million in earnings on the popular TV quiz show Jeopardy! back in 2004, may have some competition on his hands.

This Sunday’s New York Times Magazine contains an incredibly fascinating expose about “Watson,” an advanced “question answering” machine that IBM researchers have been busy developing for the past half-decade.  The story provides a step-by-step account of the challenges and research advances underlying Watson’s development — including a detailed description of how Watson works today.  It chronicles early wins — and, notably, losses — for the supercomputer versus real-life former Jeopardy! contests.  And it describes ways in which natural language processing and data mining advances enabled by Watson’s development could be extended to other fields, like healthcare, e-government, and transportation.

This Sunday’s story is a must-read — and it’s just the first in a series titled “Smarter Than You Think” the NY Times is publishing this summer, describing recent advances in AI and robotics, and the potential impact of this work on society.

And don’t forget to try your luck against Watson in a simulated New York Times Web interactive.

(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, Director, CCC)

Watson:  The Next Ken Jennings?

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