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What Is Watson?
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The TV quiz show Jeopardy! is famous for giving contestants answers to which they must supply the correct questions. Contestants must be fast, with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the world and the ability to figure out clues that are vague, involve double meanings, and frequently rely on puns. Early this year, Jeopardy! aired a match involving the two all-time most successful Jeopardy! contestants and Watson, an artificial intelligence system designed by IBM. Watson won the Jeopardy! match by a wide margin. In doing so, it brought the leading edge of computer technology a little closer to human abilities. This presentation will describe the supercomputer implementation of Watson used for the Jeopardy! match and the challenges that had to be overcome to create a computer capable of accurately answering open-ended, natural-language questions in real time—typically in under 3 seconds.
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