Monday, April 27, 2009

Computer to "play" Jeopardy

IBM is moving from Deep Blue to Jeopardy Blue with an attempt to build a computer that can compete with humans at Jeopardy. I think they should make the computer take the qualifying tests and wait its turn. They claim that the computer will only use information that it has "read" or processed and not be hooked up to the internet. As mentioned in the article, I agree that the real difficulty is for the computer to "understand" the question rather than searching for the answer. We all know how quippy, and full of puns or clever wordplay that a Jeopardy question can be. Sometimes the clue can offer two directions to the answer and knowing the category is important. It seems that this problem is very much tied to parsing the language of the question more than anything else.

In a perhaps unintentional analogy with Chess Grand Master Garry Kasparov playing IBM's chess computer Deep Blue, it has been suggested that Ken Jennings, all-time greatest Jeopardy player, come back to play this new Jeopardy playing computer.

I would imagine that to train or perhaps test the computer program, called Watson, one could use the J! Archive to see if the computer can accurately answer questions from Jeopardy's past. The infographic makes it look as if the computer will just gather relevant data from the clue, plug it into improvised Google-like or a linked Wikipedia-like database (like six degrees of Wikipedia) and spit out the answer. Still, this is a much more interesting problem than a computer grinding through ply after ply of chess moves. It will be interesting to see if it works.

(via Slashdot)

No comments: