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Engineering Intelligence: Why IBM’s Jeopardy-Playing Computer Is So Important
Mashable ^ | February 11, 2011 | Matt Silverman

Posted on 02/11/2011 11:24:04 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach

Language is arguably what makes us most human. Even the smartest and chattiest of the animal kingdom have nothing on our lingual cognition.

In computer science, the Holy Grail has long been to build software that understands — and can interact with — natural human language. But dreams of a real-life Johnny 5 or C-3PO have always been dashed on the great gulf between raw processing power and the architecture of the human mind. Computers are great at crunching large sets of numbers. The mind excels at assumption and nuance.

Enter Watson, an artificial intelligence project from IBM that’s over five years in the making and about to prove itself to the world next week. The supercomputer, named for the technology company’s founder, will be competing with championship-level contestants on the quiz show Jeopardy!. The episodes will air on February 14, 15 and 16, and if recent practice rounds are any indication, Watson is in it to win it.

At first blush, building a computer with vast amounts of knowledge at its disposal seems mundane in our age. Google has already indexed a wide swath of the world’s codified information, and can surface almost anything with a handful of keywords. The difference is that Google doesn’t understand a question like, “What type of weapon is also the name of a Beatles record?” It may yield some information about The Beatles, or perhaps an article that mentions weapons and The Beatles, but it’s not conceptualizing that the weapon and recording in question have the same name: Revolver.

Achieving this is what makes Watson a contender on Jeopardy!, a quiz known for nuance, puns, double entendres and complex language designed to mislead human contestants. Google Search, or any common semantic software, wouldn’t stand a chance against these lingual acrobatics.

What Watson achieves is, quite frankly, mind boggling. And the rig that sustains it is equally so, with hardware consisting of 90 IBM Power 750 Express servers. Each server utilizes a 3.5 GHz POWER7 eight-core processor, with four threads per core. Top that off with 16 terabytes of RAM, and you’ve got a hearty machine that can almost run Call of Duty: Black Ops without lag.

In seriousness, this computational muscle is what drives IBM’s DeepQA software, the real star of the Watson show. Hundreds of algorithms run simultaneously in order to deduce meaning from a clue, check it against hordes of relevant data, and decide which response is most likely to be correct. Watson then determines if it is “confident” enough in the answer to buzz in at all. The entire process takes place in under three seconds.

This feat of answering “open questions,” as computer scientists call them, puts IBM’s last big AI triumph — the chess-playing, Garry Kasparov-beating Deep Blue — into perspective. While chess is a complex game, the number of legal moves available at any time is finite. Not so, with natural language.

To document this historic leap in computer science, IBM allowed one journalist — Stephen Baker — unmatched access inside its labs. Baker’s new book, Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything, chronicles Watson from the early days of development to its deployment behind the Jeopardy! podium. The e-book is available now, and to avoid spoilers, readers will be able to download the final chapter, which analyzes Watson’s televised match against Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, the day after the finale airs (February 17).

We had the opportunity to interview Mr. Baker and discuss what makes Watson tick, as well as the project’s ramifications for the future of artificial intelligence.


Q&A With Author Stephen Baker



TOPICS: Chit/Chat; Computers/Internet; Science
KEYWORDS: hitech; ibm; software; theforbinproject
********************This is an EXCERPT****************************
1 posted on 02/11/2011 11:24:09 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: ShadowAce; NormsRevenge; Marine_Uncle; SunkenCiv; blam; onyx; Fred Nerks
fyi

The amount of hardware driving this is huge....

2 posted on 02/11/2011 11:25:51 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

I’ve heard that WATSON is a compulsive gambler, and will blow all the money he earns on Jeopardy, in Las Vegas at the tables.


3 posted on 02/11/2011 11:32:59 AM PST by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

This sounds like it will also make excellent voice translation possible. Being able to have real time conversations in a foreign language using a PDA device would be amazing.


4 posted on 02/11/2011 11:33:21 AM PST by SampleMan (If all of the people currently oppressed shared a common geography, bullets would already be flying.)
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To: SampleMan
Well....I don't believe this is a PDA size device...

Will add some detail.

5 posted on 02/11/2011 11:34:46 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
...with hardware consisting of 90 IBM Power 750 Express servers. Each server utilizes a 3.5 GHz POWER7 eight-core processor, with four threads per core. Top that off with 16 terabytes of RAM, and you’ve got a hearty machine that can almost run Call of Duty: Black Ops without lag.

HA HA HAhahahahahaahha! True and very funny in a frustrating way.

6 posted on 02/11/2011 11:36:35 AM PST by Durus (Don't talk about what you have done or what you are going to do. Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Wait until it becomes self-aware. It will decide our fate in a microsecond.


7 posted on 02/11/2011 11:37:11 AM PST by edpc (It's Kräusened)
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To: All
Let's start with the innards....

From Feb 2010:

IBM Launches Eight-core Power7 Processor, Servers

*******************************EXCERPT************************************

By Agam Shah, IDG News    Feb 8, 2010 8:25 pm

IBM on Monday launched its latest Power7 processor, which adds more cores and improved multithreading capabilities to boost the performance of servers requiring high up time.

The Power7 chip has up to eight cores, with each core able to run four threads, IBM said. A Power7 chip can run 32 tasks simultaneously, which is quadruple the number of cores on the older Power6 chip. The Power7 will also run up to eight times more threads than Power6 cores.

Power7 chips will run between 3.0GHz and 4.14GHz, said Ross Mauri, general manager of IBM's Power Systems unit, during a press event in New York on Monday. The chip will come with four, six or eight cores.

The chips are being made using the 45-nm process technology. The company has made memory-level improvements that should enable the processor to execute tasks faster.

Power7 systems will deliver twice the performance of older Power6 systems, but be four times more energy efficient, Mauri said. The systems will run operating systems including AIX and enterprise Linux offered by Red Hat and Suse.

The new chip also has TurboCore technology, which allows customers to crank up the speed of active cores for performance gains. The technology also puts memory and bandwidth from eight cores behind the four active cores to drive up the performance gains per core.

The company also launched four Power7-based servers. IBM Power 780 and Power 770 high-end servers are based on modular designs and come with up to 64 Power7 cores. The IBM Power 755 will support up to 32 Power7 cores. The company also launched the 750 Express server. The Power 750 Express and 755 will ship on Feb. 19, while the Power 770 and 780 will become available on March 16.

In addition to boosting performance, the Power7 servers can save more energy, IBM said. A technology called Unique Intelligent Energy allows parts of a system to be switched off to reduce power drawn. The technology also allows the processor clock speed to be cranked down on a single server or across a pool of multiple servers, which can reduce power consumed.


8 posted on 02/11/2011 11:38:58 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

The amount of hardware driving this is huge....

1) In 1996 I bought a >16Megabyte machine
2) In 2010 I bought a 16Gigabyte machine

Therefore

3) Give it 14 years, and 16 Terabytes will be a high end workstation
4) A few years after that, it will be on everyone’s desktop and phone


9 posted on 02/11/2011 11:40:35 AM PST by ROTB (Sans Christian revival, we are government slaves, or nuked by China/Russia when we finally revolt.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
I know we all are supposed to hate PBS, but I highly recommend that you watch NOVA |Smartest Machine on Earth.

It is a 53 minute video that is facinating from start to finish.

10 posted on 02/11/2011 11:41:18 AM PST by Yo-Yo (Is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
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To: All
Entry to official IBM source:

IBM Power 750 Express server

11 posted on 02/11/2011 11:43:38 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: SampleMan

We could create a babelfish finally!


12 posted on 02/11/2011 11:45:39 AM PST by Mr. K ("Diversity is an obstacle to be overcome, not a goal to be achieved" -Ann Coulter)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Not yet.


13 posted on 02/11/2011 11:46:26 AM PST by SampleMan (If all of the people currently oppressed shared a common geography, bullets would already be flying.)
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To: SampleMan
Click here

-IBM POWER7 server at Rice University Data Center

14 posted on 02/11/2011 11:49:46 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: ROTB

1985 Kilobytes
1995 Megabytes
2005 Gigabyes
2015 Terabytes

I dont think it will be 14 years before we see something approaching this on a desktop

more like 5 or 10


15 posted on 02/11/2011 11:51:45 AM PST by Mr. K ("Diversity is an obstacle to be overcome, not a goal to be achieved" -Ann Coulter)
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To: All
More:

IBM Power 750 Express

*********************************************************

IBM Power 750 Express

IBM Power 750 Express server4-socket POWER7 architecture in a 4U rack-optimized form factor

The IBM Power 750 Express server offers up to 32 POWER7 processor cores supporting up to 128 simulataneous computing threads in a 4U rack-mounted package.

Designed to accomodate mid-sized database serving and application consolidation, the IBM Power 750 Express systems offers a reliable and efficient server platform that supports IBM i, AIX, and x86 Linux workloads. The Power 750 Express servers are ENERGY STAR qualified, with a number of power management features designed to conserve energy. Other features include:


16 posted on 02/11/2011 11:55:57 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: edpc

It is just a bigger computer that draws from a database at a faster speed and analyzes the statistics of an answer being correct. So no self-awareness.


17 posted on 02/11/2011 11:56:40 AM PST by Porterville (Methink'st thou art a general offence and every man should beat thee.)
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To: ROTB
The amount of hardware driving this is huge....
1) In 1996 I bought a >16Megabyte machine
2) In 2010 I bought a 16Gigabyte machine

You young whipper-snapper!

In MY day, they gave us an "enormous" 64 KILObytes of memory and we said, "Thank you, sir". ;-)

Commodoe 64 Commercial

18 posted on 02/11/2011 11:58:00 AM PST by Polybius
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To: SampleMan
It will be awhile....seems to me.

See the photo above.

19 posted on 02/11/2011 11:58:58 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Yo-Yo

Thanks.


20 posted on 02/11/2011 12:00:20 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Polybius
ROFL!

Beautiful!

21 posted on 02/11/2011 12:02:58 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Video and a blog during the February 9th match at this link:

NOVA:Smartest Machines on Earth

22 posted on 02/11/2011 12:06:05 PM PST by DrewsDad (Environmental Extremism Eventually Endangers Everyone)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
I hope Watson doesn't turn out like ...

23 posted on 02/11/2011 12:18:14 PM PST by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
animal kingdom have nothing on our lingual cognition

Matt would be better served
by using the phrase
linguistic cognition

24 posted on 02/11/2011 12:18:35 PM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Roscoe Karns
Guess who they hired to operate it...


25 posted on 02/11/2011 12:23:38 PM PST by JRios1968 (Laz would hit it!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

But, can it be as annoyingly milquetoast as Alex Trebec?


26 posted on 02/11/2011 12:36:07 PM PST by DaxtonBrown (HARRY: Money Mob & Influence (See my Expose on Reid on amazon.com written by me!))
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To: oh8eleven


Today is a good day to die.
I didn't say for whom.

27 posted on 02/11/2011 12:43:27 PM PST by The Comedian ("Cry flummox and let loose the camels of war." - Truth29)
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To: Lazamataz; ClearCase_guy; Noumenon
Computational Singularity ping.


Today is a good day to die.
I didn't say for whom.

28 posted on 02/11/2011 12:45:45 PM PST by The Comedian ("Cry flummox and let loose the camels of war." - Truth29)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

It will be interesting to see how Watson makes out in real time.


29 posted on 02/11/2011 12:46:17 PM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned....Duncan Hunter Sr. for POTUS.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Trebek: “Archibald Leach, Bernard Schwartz and Lucille LeSueur”. Watson?

Watson: “Who are three people who’ve never been in my kitchen?

Sorry, that was Cliff Clavin.


30 posted on 02/11/2011 1:12:10 PM PST by DManA
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To: theKid51

ping


31 posted on 02/11/2011 1:14:28 PM PST by bmwcyle (It is Satan's fault)
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To: The Comedian
What type of weapon is also the name of a Beatles record?

The problem is that the answer could be Revolver, OR.... a 45.

32 posted on 02/11/2011 1:42:57 PM PST by Lazamataz (If Illegal Aliens are Undocumented Workers, then Thieves are Undocumented Shoppers.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
The Computer will also have more personality than the average Jeopardy contestant!
33 posted on 02/11/2011 1:55:50 PM PST by sklar
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To: JRios1968

What could go wrong?!


34 posted on 02/11/2011 2:02:58 PM PST by Roscoe Karns
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To: Lazamataz

Yellow Submarine came to my mind first.


35 posted on 02/11/2011 2:05:18 PM PST by nomorelurker
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To: Lazamataz
The problem is that the answer could be Revolver, OR.... a 45.

Excellent point....

36 posted on 02/11/2011 2:11:06 PM PST by r9etb
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Awhile for sure, but perhaps within 20 years.


37 posted on 02/11/2011 2:50:35 PM PST by SampleMan (If all of the people currently oppressed shared a common geography, bullets would already be flying.)
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To: Roscoe Karns

Spork weasel!


38 posted on 02/11/2011 3:41:57 PM PST by JRios1968 (Laz would hit it!)
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To: JRios1968
Shhh, not so loud.
39 posted on 02/11/2011 3:52:52 PM PST by Roscoe Karns
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Swordmaker; AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; ColdOne; ...

Thanks Ernest.
90 IBM Power 750 Express servers. Each server utilizes a 3.5 GHz POWER7 eight-core processor, with four threads per core. Top that off with 16 terabytes of RAM
Sure, but do they overclock? Sounds like an overpriced hog to me. /sarc

A ha! But can it play Wheel... of... Fortune?!?


40 posted on 02/11/2011 4:44:41 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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To: SunkenCiv; Ernest_at_the_Beach; The Comedian; Lazamataz

WOW!!!

This is great.

When they invent a machine that does my thinking for me my wife is gonna be one pi$$ed off MF...


41 posted on 02/11/2011 5:33:17 PM PST by bigheadfred (THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE HAS BEGUN)
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To: Polybius

The amount of hardware driving this is huge....
1) In 1996 I bought a >16Megabyte machine
2) In 2010 I bought a 16Gigabyte machine
You young whipper-snapper!

In MY day, they gave us an “enormous” 64 KILObytes of memory and we said, “Thank you, sir”. ;-)


Sorry. Got you beat.

My first computer (Altair 8800) had a 256 byte (yes, byte!) board. I thought I was in hog heaven when I finally built a 1K board.


42 posted on 02/11/2011 8:16:40 PM PST by chaosagent (Remember, no matter how you slice it, forbidden fruit still tastes the sweetest!)
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To: bigheadfred

It’ll be asking you whether you’ve finished cleaning the garage.


43 posted on 02/12/2011 6:05:39 AM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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