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Alex, What's the Future of Computing, Voice Recognition, and Artificial Intelligence?

February 11, 2011

Students and Experts From IBM and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute To View “Jeopardy! The IBM Challenge” on WTEN at EMPAC Feb. 14, 15, and 16 as IBM’s Watson Computer Takes on Jeopardy! Champions

Watson faces off against the two all-time Jeopardy! champions on Feb. 14, 15, and 16. They are shown here in a practice round.

John Kolb (Vice President for Information Services and Technology/Chief Information Officer), Jim Hendler (Tetherless World Research Constellation Professor of Computer and Cognitive Science) and Chris Welty (Research staff member, IBM Watson Research Center) are featured on WAMC in a discussion of Watson.

Rensselaer professors and scientists, and lead developers of the IBM Watson computer, will join an audience of students and visitors to watch as Watson faces off against the two all-time Jeopardy! champions on Feb. 14, 15, and 16, and to analyze the technology that enables a computer to compete effectively with humans.

Several of the scientists behind the development of Watson are Rensselaer graduates. David Ferrucci, the IBM lead scientist on the project, earned his Ph.D. at Rensselaer. Chris Welty, who earned all three of his degrees at Rensselaer and is a member of the IBM Watson algorithms team, is a former director of Rensselaer’s computer science laboratory. Welty will join the Rensselaer audience at all three viewing events and discuss the technology behind Watson. He will be joined by Adam Lally, an IBM software engineer on the Watson project and a Rensselaer graduate.

All three events will take place at the Rensselaer Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) located on the Troy, N.Y., campus. The 7:30 p.m. Jeopardy! episodes will be shown on a large high-definition screen at EMPAC. Doors will open at 6 p.m., and at 6:45 p.m. a panel discussion will begin with Chris Welty of IBM and Institute experts who will discuss the Watson technology and its importance in the development of benefits ranging from medicine to science to computing. Following the Jeopardy! episode each night at 7:30 on WTEN, Channel 10, the experts will be available to answer questions.

According to IBM, “Jeopardy! The IBM Challenge” poses a specific question with very real business implications: “Can a system be designed that applies advanced data management and analytics to natural language in order to uncover a single, reliable insight — in a fraction of a second?” The game of Jeopardy! makes great demands on its players — from the range of topical knowledge covered to the nuances in language employed in the clues. Can the analytical power of a computer system — normally accustomed to executing precise requests — overcome these obstacles? Can the troves of knowledge written in human terms become easily searchable by a machine in order to deliver a single, precise answer? Can a quiz show help advance science?

For more information or to register for the event, please visit: http://watson.rpi.edu/

To learn more about IBM and Watson, please visit: http://www-03.ibm.com/innovation/us/watson/

Contact: Mark Marchand
Phone: (518) 276-6098
E-mail: marchm3@rpi.edu