Don't foist your oyster moisture onto the cloister

Almost a year ago I blogged about the IBM system, Watson, being created and programmed for playing as a contestant on the game show Jeopardy! It seems that the taping of the three game series of machine versus former players/champions Ken Jennings (winner of 74 straight games) and Brad Rutter (winner of over $3.25 million) has taken place. The shows are scheduled to air February 14-16.

It was announced that Watson had won the practice game before the real games were taped. Obviously there's no hint as to how Watson fared in those matches. We'll all need to tune in for the broadcasts (check your local listings).

The Associated Press video report has some details on the practice round between the three players, some comments from the humans about facing a machine, and some information about how Watson works from David Ferrucci. Watching the clips of Watson playing, I'm amazed at all the processing that is needed to understand the category, understand the answer being given, search through the self-contained store of facts and figures, and then buzz in before Ken or Brad to deliver the correct question.

Check out the IBM Watson site for more information. The "Why Jeopardy?" video tells a good story about the development of Watson. I still haven't seen any official details on Watson hardware, but a tweet from @sharpdirections claims Watson "is powered by 15 terabytes of RAM and a 2,880 processor core, giving it an operating speed of 80 TeraFLOPS."
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