Computer crushes the competition on 'Jeopardy!'

By Frazier Moore

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 15 2011 5:00 p.m. MST

In this undated publicity image released by Jeopardy Productions, Inc., contestants Ken Jennings, left, and Brad Rutter and a computer named Watson compete on the game show "Jeopardy!" in Yorktown Heights, N.Y.

Jeopardy Productions, Inc., Carol Kaelson ) NO SALES, Associated Press

NEW YORK — The computer brained its human competition in Game 1 of the Man vs. Machine competition on "Jeopardy!"

On the 30-question game board, veteran "Jeopardy!" champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter managed only five correct responses between them during the Double Jeopardy round that aired Tuesday. They ended the first game of the two-game face-off with paltry earnings of $2,400 and $5,400, respectively.

Watson, their IBM supercomputer nemesis, emerged from the Final Jeopardy round with $35,734.

Tuesday's competition began with Jennings (who has the longest "Jeopardy!" winning streak at 74 games) making the first choice. But Watson jumped in with the correct response: What is leprosy?

He followed that with bang-on responses Franz Liszt, dengue fever, violin, Rachmaninoff and albinism, then landed on a Daily Double in the "Cambridge" category.

"I'll wager $6,435," Watson said in his pleasant electronic voice.

"I won't ask," said host Alex Trebek, wondering with everybody else where that figure came from.

Watson knew what he was doing. Sir Christopher Wren was the correct response, and Watson's total vaulted to $21,035 as the humans stood by helplessly.

The trio will return on Wednesday, when their second game is aired. The overall winner will collect $1 million.

The bouts were taped at the IBM research center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., last month.

Online:

http://jeopardy.com

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