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Old 02-12-2011, 10:52 PM   #1
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Watson the Computer on Jeopardy

A computer named Watson will be a contestant on Jeopardy this week for three nights, Mon - Wed. This was the subject of a recent Nova and the computer actually had to audition just like any potential contestant. Watson's fellow contestants will be all-time champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.
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Old 02-12-2011, 10:56 PM   #2
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Pretty cool.
http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-n...ns-at-Jeopardy

Now, show me the computer that can win at Wipeout.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:14 PM   #3
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Here is a bit of the practice match.

Watson

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Old 02-12-2011, 11:19 PM   #4
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Does it have all the data stored or is it accessing the Internet?
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:23 PM   #5
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Does it have all the data stored or is it accessing the Internet?
Stored, no internet access.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:24 PM   #6
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Does it have all the data stored or is it accessing the Internet?
It has all of the data. It has to compete and buzz in too. I think that the questions are pre-loaded on a segregated portion of the program (as it can't see or hear), and it gets access to the questions at the same time the host starts reading it.

It has to figure out the answer in about 3-4 seconds, and buzz in first.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:25 PM   #7
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That was my next question. I didn't know if it used OCR or voice recognition.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:27 PM   #8
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It has all of the data. It has to compete and buzz in too. I think that the questions are pre-loaded on a segregated portion of the program (as it can't see or hear), and it gets access to the questions at the same time the host starts reading it.

It has to figure out the answer in about 3-4 seconds, and buzz in first.
As I understand it, it is doing speech recognition as well as figuring out the puns in the questions on the fly.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:29 PM   #9
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It's not doing speech recognition. It's being fed the questions electronically.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:30 PM   #10
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So its basically a giant google. meh.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:32 PM   #11
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So its basically a giant google. meh.
The big deal is the natural language. It has to understand the format of the Jeopardy answer and parse that into a search.

Type a Jeopardy answer into Google and unless that episode has aired, and thus has been indexed, you won't get a direct question for it.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:33 PM   #12
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What is Google?
I see what you did there.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:50 PM   #13
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There was a Nova special on this
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/sm...-on-earth.html
PBS Nova Special

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Old 02-12-2011, 11:57 PM   #14
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I've been looking forward to this since it was announced. Can't wait.
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:47 AM   #15
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I wonder if they programmed in a slight delay for the "buzz in" procedure to simulate a human's reaction time to the light that let's the players know when their clickers go active. If not, that would be a pretty big advantage over typical human players, since Watson could buzz in the millisecond the clickers went active and beat the other players to the punch.

During Ken Jennings run, one of the things that started to work additionally to his favor was the fact that after so many games, he had developed a very good feel for the rythym and timing of the clicker activation, so he was able to buzz in more effectively than his opponents.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:56 AM   #16
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One contributing factor to ken's success is that he took the chance and buzzed in as soon as he could, before he could even process the answer.
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Old 02-13-2011, 08:15 AM   #17
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I believe the clickers are active only after the moderator finishes reading the jeopardy answer. true?
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Old 02-13-2011, 08:29 AM   #18
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I wonder if they programmed in a slight delay for the "buzz in" procedure to simulate a human's reaction time to the light that let's the players know when their clickers go active. If not, that would be a pretty big advantage over typical human players, since Watson could buzz in the millisecond the clickers went active and beat the other players to the punch.
I have been wondering this too because I agree it would be a big advantage.

IIRC not only can you not buzz in before the question is done, but if you buzz in a little early you are locked out from buzzing in again for a second or two.
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Old 02-13-2011, 08:37 AM   #19
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I have been wondering this too because I agree it would be a big advantage.

IIRC not only can you not buzz in before the question is done, but if you buzz in a little early you are locked out from buzzing in again for a second or two.
I saw a video in which it showed the computer doing a complex calcuation as to whether or not to buzz in at all. It has to be "certain" of the answer by a certain percent before buzzing in. Plus, that number will change based upon its relative position in the game. If it's way ahead, then it will need to be more certain to buzz in, because it's not necessary to risk the money. If it's behind, it will be less certain because it needs to catch up.

Watson not only knows how to find the answer, but to engage in strategy.
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:14 AM   #20
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Let me be the first to welcome Watson as our new Over...woops wrong forum...
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:19 AM   #21
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I saw a video in which it showed the computer doing a complex calcuation as to whether or not to buzz in at all. It has to be "certain" of the answer by a certain percent before buzzing in. Plus, that number will change based upon its relative position in the game. If it's way ahead, then it will need to be more certain to buzz in, because it's not necessary to risk the money. If it's behind, it will be less certain because it needs to catch up.

Watson not only knows how to find the answer, but to engage in strategy.
truthfully, that's probably the easiest of the code they had to write for Watson. The ability to understand natural language / approach to answering the question, access that much data, and do it fast enough to answer is a massively complex problem. Strategy as you outline is pretty trivial, in comparison...
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Old 02-13-2011, 10:02 AM   #22
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The code for Watson contains hundred of different algorithms to figure out the Jeopardy questions. Each question or "answer" is scored based on probability and then Watson selects the best one in a few seconds. Also this is running Linux and has 15TB of RAM while the data set that Watson is fed is under 1TB. You can read more / watch videos here...

http://ibm.com/watson

and a little more technical details here...

https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/m...earth7?lang=en

Happy 100th Birthday to IBM (this June)! Not many technology companies are a hundred years old.
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Old 02-13-2011, 10:18 AM   #23
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Lots of good info here.

http://www-03.ibm.com/innovation/us/...son/index.html
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Old 02-13-2011, 10:56 AM   #24
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Now can Watson get a question wrong? It would sound boring if he got every question right.
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Old 02-13-2011, 11:40 AM   #25
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Now can Watson get a question wrong? It would sound boring if he got every question right.
I would imagine it could, if it misinterpreted the question.
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Old 02-13-2011, 11:59 AM   #26
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Or as Turtleboy said about the "certainty" part, it could calculate it has a 90% chance of getting it right and it's worth the risk. So could get the 10% wrong there.
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Old 02-13-2011, 12:03 PM   #27
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I would imagine it could, if it misinterpreted the question.
or, if it were behind and been programmed to lower the thresholds and/or buzz in while still formulating the answer... imagine if it buzzed in then went blank like many constestats! "um, watson??". "sorry Alex, I dunno!"..
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Old 02-13-2011, 12:49 PM   #28
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Now can Watson get a question wrong? It would sound boring if he got every question right.
I'm sure it can. I hope they throw a lot of tricky wordplay categories at it, like "Before and After," where an correct answer is something like "Who is Babe Ruth Bader Ginsberg?"
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Old 02-13-2011, 12:57 PM   #29
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Now can Watson get a question wrong? It would sound boring if he got every question right.
I saw an older video in which the clue was, "In REM's It's the End of the World as We Know It two of the three people named with the initials L.B." and Watson said, "What is 'I feel fine.'"
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Old 02-13-2011, 01:20 PM   #30
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I've seen video of test rounds where Watson was really, really wrong. So yes, it can get things wrong. I agree with the above: the ability to parse the question (even without speech recognition, Watson still has to understand the exact same question as the other contestants) is really amazing. It's funny because for people the hard part is knowing the answer. For Watson, it knows the answers always since it knows so many facts, but the hard part is the interpretation of the question. Just shows you how very different computers are than people, and how complementary they should be to each other.
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