You may soon turn on the TV to find a computer competing against human contestants on Jeopardy. Watson, a program named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson Sr., is IMBs latest attempt to push artificial intelligence to the next level and to to prove that its researchers can make significant technical progress by picking “grand challenges”.
IBM and the producers of "Jeopardy!" have negotiated a set of rules for the show. Watson will receive all of the questions electronically, and will respond with a synthesized voice. A Blue Gene supercomputer will be sent to Los Angeles for the contest, but will not be connected to the Internet. Instead the system will use information that it has indexed before the show. IBM would not provide details on how large Watson's database.
The show's producers are considering who should compete against the program. One likely candidate is Ken Jennings, who holds the longest winning streak on the show. In 2004, Ken won 74 games in a row before being defeated. Personally I hope to see Sean Connery and John Connor.
Watson is not IBMs first venture into AI that competes against humans. In 1997, an IBM supercomputer called Deep Blue, defeated chess world champion Garry Kasparov. Garry claimed that the match was unfair, but was able to achieve a draw in a later match against a different version.