If you haven’t already heard, tonight on Jeopardy!, there will be a rather “different” looking contestant named Watson.
The reason that Watson is different than all of the previous Jeopardy! contestants is because he’s not a human, but a supercomputer, which was developed by IBM and is capable of answering questions that are posed in a natural language.
“Watson”, named after the founder of IBM, Thomas J. Watson, is made up of a cluster of 90 IBM Power 750 servers, in addition to some other hardware components, and contains a total of 2,880 POWER 7 processor cores and also has over 16 Terabytes of RAM. Running on this supercomputer will be IBM’s DeepQA software.
Already, “Watson” has been able to beat Jeopardy! contestants in practice rounds, so it will be interesting to see how this computer matches up when he goes up against two of Jeopardy!’s champions – Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.
There will be three episodes of Jeopardy! featuring “Watson”, which begin tonight at 7:30 PM (Eastern) and last through Wednesday, February 16, 2011.
For more information about IBM’s Watson supercomputer, you should check out IBM’s website about “Watson”, as well as this article on Wikipedia.