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IBM Supercomputer to Compete on 'Jeopardy!'

Tuesday , April 28, 2009

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Pretty soon, "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek may face his toughest contestant yet: an IBM supercomputer.

On Monday, the tech giant plans to announce that it'll be moving one of its Blue Gene machines to Los Angeles to appear on the popular game show, according to a report by the New York Times.

Computers have played, and sometimes beaten, humans at chess, but "Jeopardy!" requires a whole new skill level — the ability to think like a human, or at least understand how a human would think.

"The big goal is to get computers to be able to converse in human terms," one IBM researcher told the Times. "And we're not there yet."

To even the playing field, the computer will receive Trebek's questions — technically answers, according to the "Jeopardy!" format — as text messages, while humans will both read and hear them.

But it won't be able to connect to the Internet for a lifeline.

A "Jeopardy!" producer said the computer's human opponents were still be worked out, but that all-time champ Ken Jennings was definitely in the running.

• Click here to read the rest of this report in the New York Times.

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