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IBM's Watson Takes One Small Step for a Computer

Feb 16, 2011, 20:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Mike Martin)

"Being able to compete well at "Jeopardy" against two of its all-time best players may seem like a modest accomplishment for an IBM supercomputer, but Watson, the machine that's playing out a three-day challenge on the TV show, may have bigger fish to fry after it's all said and done. IBM is working with scientists and other experts on developing uses for Watson's skills in healthcare, financial services and government, for starters.

"Instantly sorting 15 trillion memory bytes to find the right answer to a "Jeopardy" question: Elementary, my dear Watson.

"Or so an IBM (NYSE: IBM) supercomputer named "Watson" set out to prove Monday, tackling trivia with the popular television game show's all-time human champs, Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings.

""A four-letter word for the iron fitting on the hoof of a horse or a card-dealing box in a casino," was a US$400 answer host Alex Trebek gave the trio. "What is a shoe?" Watson answered with a question in "Jeopardy's" famous format."

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