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Watson: Computer Watson Competes on Jeopardy!

TV Man vs Machine
In this undated publicity image released by Jeopardy Productions, Inc., host Alex Trebek, left, poses with contestants Ken Jennings, center, and Brad Rutter and a computer named Watson in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. On Monday, Feb. 14, 2011, “Jeopardy!” will begin airing two matches spread over three days between Jennings, Rutter and Watson, who was developed by IBM scientists. (AP Photo/Jeopardy Productions, Inc.)
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In this undated publicity image released by Jeopardy Productions, Inc., host Alex Trebek, left, poses with contestants Ken Jennings, center, and Brad Rutter and a computer named Watson in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. On Monday, Feb. 14, 2011, "Jeopardy!" will begin airing two matches spread over three days between Jennings, Rutter and Watson, who was developed by IBM scientists. (AP Photo/Jeopardy Productions, Inc.)

Tonight, television game show history will be made as the supercomputer dubbed “Watson” makes its grand debut on Jeopardy!

The supercomputer, built by IBM, is set to take on the two greatest Jeopardy! Champions in the show’s history: Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

The two contestants and Watson will compete in a three-day event where the winner receives one million dollars.

Watson has been in development for over four years now, as the people at IBM have tuned and tweaked the computer to be able to comprehend the breadth of questions in a Jeopardy! show.

Watson is fed the questions electronically, it is considered blind and deaf, and processes the questions in six refrigerator-size compartments that hold between 2,000 and 3,000 Power 7 computing cores.

Once Watson processes the question, it creates five answers that could be correct, and then uses a confidence-level test to see if it will answer.

Confidence levels can changed depending on how much money it has, the money totals of other contestants and even how well it is doing in a certain category.

While Watson is set to compete in a trivia show, IBM has also started adapting Watson to do other things. Over the last several months, Watson has been fed medical information, so that in the future doctors and nurses can describe a patient and have Watson give details about their conditions and possible courses of action.

The show premiers Monday on ABC at 7 p.m., and rounds two and three will be on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

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