Ken Jennings was thirsty for blood (silicon?) tonight. After struggling to buzz in faster than Watson during in the first match, Jennings was noticeably quicker in this match, buzzing in first and thinking about the correct response after. As a result, he finished with over 18,200 going into Final Jeopardy, just a few thousand dollars behind Watson's 23,440. Rutter meanwhile, was mostly invisible during this round much like Jennings was last round. But he still managed to rack up 5,600.
The second day of Watson's man-vs-machine Jeopardy! challenge has come to close, and IBM's super-computer dealt a resounding defeat to its pitiful, meat-filled opponents. In light of that fact, we thought now might be a good time to learn a little more about our future overlord, so we found an expert on the subject to answer some of our questions.
Stephen Baker is the author of Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything, a new book about how Watson came to be. He was gracious enough to answer some of our burning questions. Read on to find out what he said!
If you happened to miss out on the first half of Round 1 last night, shame on you. You can catch up here.
When we last left our heroes, Watson and the undefeated Jeopardy champion Brad Rutter were tied for the lead with $5000 apiece. Ken Jennings, meanwhile, trailed with $2000. Watson had some shaky moments in the early stages of Round 1, but kept it together enough to stay on top and frustrate the Mormon Machine. Let's rejoin the action...
After practice rounds and plenty of hype, Watson, IBM's latest supercomputer, stepped up to the podium to take on two of Jeopardy's greatest champions: Ken Jennings, who won 74 straight rounds of Jeopardy en route to becoming a pop culture icon, and Brad Rutter, who netted more money than any other contestant while winning the three of the biggest Jeopardy tournaments (defeating Ken Jennings in the process).
How did it go? Well, the tournament isn't done yet, since it's a three-day battle between the contestants. But after the first day, Watson has won $5000, tying it for first place with Brad Rutter. Ken Jennings is in third place, with $2000. How can a computer do this, you ask?
Before reading this, take a moment to stare at your computer. Check out the crisp, high definition picture you're gazing at right now, as you hum along at a stable and steady broadband speed. We forget sometimes how far we've come, so as a reminder, we decided to dedicate this gallery to 25 of the most influential machines in PC history. Enjoy!
IBM collects patents nearly as fast as the file clerk at the U.S. Patent and Trademark office can process them. In fact, the USPTO granted Big Blue an all-time high of 5,896 new U.S. patents in 2010, positioning IBM as the No. 1 patent assignee for the 18th consecutive year. In second place is Samsung, which added 4,551 patents to its portfolio last year. Now these two busy bodies will be able to license each other's patent portfolios after coming to undisclosed terms on a new patent cross-license agreement.
Currently at the technology preview stage, the new cloud-based office productivity suite will square off against comparable products like Google Apps, Microsoft Office Web Apps, Zoho Office Suite and Oracle Cloud Office. It will be widely available in the second half of 2011.
“LotusLive Symphony is new set of social collaboration tools in the cloud that allows you and your customers or colleagues to work on documents, spreadsheets and presentations - together. You can co-edit, organize and manage the creation process in real-time, using LotusLive Symphony's Web-based tools,” the company announced on the official Lotus Symphony.
IBM is taking the American attitude of 'Go big or go home' over to China where it plans to open Asia's largest cloud computing data center, the company announced on Tuesday.
"The data center offers the world-class infrastructure capabilities and advanced network based services to support the business growth of our clients," said Madam Zhou Chaonan, Chairman, Range Technology Development Co., Ltd., which is collaborating with IBM on the project. "This initiative plays a critical role in the economic development of China in light of the pressing demand for managed hosting in the areas of cloud computing and mobile devices."
IBM says the new data center will take up more than 620,000 square meters (about 6.1 million square feet) and will be built to IBM specifications and international green building standards. It will offer services like data backup, disaster recovery, and server leases.
In February, the robot apocalypse will begin. Well, not the kind with lasers and terminators, but that's when a computer will compete in an official game of Jeopardy against the top two human trivia masters, Ken Jennings, and Brad Rutter. In a recent practice round, IBM's Watson computer was able to best both Jennigns and Rutter as the trio blazed though three categories. Engadget has the video right here.
Watson announced its answers with the cold precision we would expect from a computer operated killing mach- er… trivia robot. None of the competitors answered a question wrong, and the final score after about three minutes of play was Watson in the lead with $4,400, Ken had $3,400, and Brad was at $1,200. IBM was showing a decision graph for each of the questions as Watson searched for the answer. The machine was right on all questions, but was not always able to buzz in before the humans were able to twitch their soft, fleshy thumbs.
The Watson trivia-bot is analyzing each question using thousands of algorithms to assess both comprehension and answer formulation. These are all run in parallel, and the resulting data is sorted out on the other end. Watson learns over time which algorithms work best when, and that's the secret to catching on to the vagaries of Jeopardy-style questions. Will you be watching the final showdown? We will.
IFI CLAIMS Patent Services, a division of Fairview Research which tracks patent grants, today announced a ranking of global companies based on the number of U.S. patents in 2010.
Coming as no big surprise, IBM topped the list for its 18th consecutive year. IBM recorded 5,896 patents in 2010 and became the first company to ever break the 5,000-patent mark in a single year. Samsung missed the mark by just 449 patents, while Microsoft took third place with 3.094 patents, up 6.5 percent from 2009.
Some would say that the number of patents recorded in 2010 is just another sign that the whole system is broken and setup to support patent trolls, but IFI sees it another way.
"The tremendous increase in patent issues in 2010 suggests that so far the economy doesn't appear to have slowed patent flow significantly in the U.S.," said Darlene Slaughter, general manager of IFI CLAIMS Patent Services. "Another important factor is the stepped up effort of the USPTO to improve turnaround times and its five-year strategic plan to increase efficiencies and reduce pendency. The bottom line: there is still a backlog of patents pending but the number of grants continues to grow even after a period of economic downturn."
The total number of U.S. utility patents in 2010 came out to 219,614, up 31 percent from 2009, the biggest annual increase ever, IFI says.