Question: What do Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, and a computer named "Watson" all have in common?
Answer: The two humans and computer will all compete on the US game show Jeopardy! the week of February 14, 2011.
In case you're not a Jeopardy! fanatic, both Ken and Brad are previous Jeopardy! champions, and they're credited with some of the longest winning streaks and largest take-home earnings in the game show's recent history (see endnote 1).
And here's the scoop on Watson:
For over three years, IBM has been developing what they call the "world’s most advanced question answering machine, able to understand a question posed in everyday human language and respond with a precise and factual answer" (see endnote 2).
Features of Watson:
Runs IBM's "DeepQA technology" to help identify context, and answer questions quickly
Runs on Linux OS / 10 racks of IBM POWER 750 / 15 terabytes of RAM /2,880 processor core
Tens of millions of documents stored
Access to the equivalent of 200 million pages of content
Note: Watson is not connected to the Internet, so it does not do Web searches.