Watson and Jeopardy
admin Thu, 02/17/2011 - 01:00
The last two evenings I have been watching Jeopardy in particular to see IBM's new supercomputer dubbed Watson. The 3 night event pitted 2 of the all time greatest human Jeopardy players against IBM's new supercomputer, Watson. The 3 night event, that honestly looked kind of like a paid advertising event for IBM, was interesting to watch. As you might expect Watson beat both human players with ease. While watching I found it interesting to see which questions Watson answered incorrectly, and which ones he missed altogether. Take a quick look at a YouTube clip:
The specs of the computer are rather impressive as well (as you would expect), take a look:
- 90 IBM power 750 servers, in 10 racks
- 8 processor sockets per server, 4 cores per processor =
- 2880 cores
- 15 terabytes of Ram
- only 500 gigs of HD space
- 2 x 20 ton AC units to keep things cool.
I was a little surprised about the hard drive space, but IBM states that is more than enough space to store all of the text that watson needs (remeber, he does not need audio / images etc.) Watson did not have an active internet connection. One of the other things that I found a little interesting, was watson was being fed the questions via a text feed. Watson did nto have to "Listen" or "look" at the question. You might say well duh... but that fact is that the technology is out there, and watson could have taken an image of the text and then run OCR (optical Character Recognition) on the image. The same type of process could have happened with the audio as well. I know that my phone can listen to me speak and then turn that into text, so the technology is there, it was just not implemented for this challenge. While all of that is interesting, Watson did have to buzz in mechanically (although IBM did not really eloborate on this as far as I could tell). IBM states that watson takes about 3 seconds to buzz into a question, while the best human Jeopardy players buzz in in about 3.5 seconds.
It was interesting, and definatly gives a good look at what is coming in the future. For a little more info take a look at the links below: