<p><em><a id="internal-source-marker_0.41981293072370107" href="http://www.jeopardy.com/">Jeopardy!</a></em> champion Ken Jennings points to his <a href="http://www.ibm.com/us/en/sandbox/ver1/">IBM</a> supercomputer opponent,<a href="http://www-943.ibm.com/innovation/us/watson/"> Watson</a>, during a practice round for the TV game show last month. Jennings and fellow human contestant Brad Rutter competed against Watson in a three-episode tournament this week in the U.S.—and were summarily beaten by the computer last night.</p><p>Watson boasts a nearly 3,000-computer-processor "brain," which can perform various tasks simultaneously—an ability that could be unique and potentially very important in artificial intelligence, or AI, research, computer scientists say.</p><p>The "Watson program may turn out to be a major advance, because unlike most previous AI projects, it does not depend mainly on a single technique, such as reinforcement learning [learning via reward and punishment], or simulated evolution ... but tries to combine multiple methods," MIT computer scientist<a href="http://web.media.mit.edu/~minsky/"> Marvin Minsky</a> wrote in an email.</p><p>Minsky added, however, that Watson's contribution and importance to the field of AI won't be known until IBM publishes a technical report about the computer.</p><p>(Read a <a href="http://blogs.ngm.com/blog_central/2011/02/jeopardy-20-ill-take-computers-who-form-questions-for-answers-for-100.html">Q&amp;A about Watson with the author of <em>Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything</em></a>.)</p>

Watson Wins Jeopardy!

Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings points to his IBM supercomputer opponent, Watson, during a practice round for the TV game show last month. Jennings and fellow human contestant Brad Rutter competed against Watson in a three-episode tournament this week in the U.S.—and were summarily beaten by the computer last night.

Watson boasts a nearly 3,000-computer-processor "brain," which can perform various tasks simultaneously—an ability that could be unique and potentially very important in artificial intelligence, or AI, research, computer scientists say.

The "Watson program may turn out to be a major advance, because unlike most previous AI projects, it does not depend mainly on a single technique, such as reinforcement learning [learning via reward and punishment], or simulated evolution ... but tries to combine multiple methods," MIT computer scientist Marvin Minsky wrote in an email.

Minsky added, however, that Watson's contribution and importance to the field of AI won't be known until IBM publishes a technical report about the computer.

(Read a Q&A about Watson with the author of Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything.)

Photograph by Seth Wenig, AP

Watson Wins Jeopardy!—6 Artificial Intelligence Milestones

IBM's Watson seemingly came from out of nowhere to win Jeopardy! But the computer is just the latest artificial intelligence sensation.

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