First Ever Byte vs. Brain Jeopardy! Competition

To air February 14, 15 and 16

After seven years of research and planning, thousands of hours of testing and over fifty champion-level sparring matches, IBM’s Watson is finally ready to face the two greatest Jeopardy! champions in history – Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.  The first-ever man vs. machine Jeopardy! competition will air today and the next two days. The grand prize for this competition will be $1 million with second place earning $300,000 and third place $200,000. Rutter and Jennings will donate 50 percent of their winnings to charity, and IBM will donate 100 percent of its winnings to charity. 

IBM’s Watson page says that preparing Watson for the Jeopardy! stage posed a unique challenge to the team: how to represent a system of 90 servers and hundreds of custom algorithms for the viewing public.

The result? A dynamic visual avatar based on the smarter planet icon. A speaking voice that clearly pronounces a vast vocabulary. And an answer panel that reveals the system’s top responses and confidence levels. Watch the video IBM – The Face of Watson to find out more about each of these elements.

Last week, PBSNewsHour’s science correspondent Miles O’Brien   challenged the machine to a JEOPARDY! duel. Watch Miles, Watson and David Gondek, one of Watson’s many creators, face off over unusual animal phobias, presidential tongue twisters and … laundry detergent … here.

US Mission India: Ride of a Lifetime with US Flyboys During Aero India 2011

Ambassador Tim Roemer and Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs Andrew J. Shapiro had a ride of a lifetime in a Lockheed Martin F/16 Super Viper and Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet respectively during Aero India 2011.

From Ambassador Roemer’s quick post in his blog:

Flying upside down over Bangalore at 1000 kph was breathtaking.  The technology, ingenuity, and innovation that has gone into these fantastic aircraft is incredible.  I could “see” other planes on the radar that were 100 kilometers away; slow down to practically a walk; and skim the surface of the earth as if I was flying a model plane.  This is superior technology for our pilots and military.  It truly was one of my most memorable experiences.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
Photos from US Mission India/Flickr

Via US Mission India/Flickr:  U.S. participation in Aero India 2011 air show and aviation exhibition in Bangalore is the largest to date with over 40 U.S. companies. “The U.S. is committed to greater bilateral commercial collaboration and developing a strategic partnership with India that strengthens our global nonproliferation efforts, and creates trade opportunities in the defense and high-technology sectors,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Locke said. Locke emphasized that the U.S. is committed to providing India with the most sophisticated technology and equipment. Album includes the inauguration and ribbon-cutting ceremony of the U.S. pavilion at Aero India, February 9, 2011.

Insider Quote: first to be exposed and last to be rescued …

Aerial view of the US Embassy, Saigon, showing...Image via WikipediaJackie Bong Wright
—Saigon 1975

Locally Employed Staff,

US Embassy Vietnam

I served as a Vietnamese employee.  I think that we were the first to be exposed and the last to be rescued.  And we had to be there to face disaster or crisis.  And at that time many Americans already left and we were Vietnamese.  We were to stay and to be there to be open – to open our doors.  And I personally, because of my history, my husband, Nguyen Van Bong, was assassinated by the Communists in late 1971, and I was the chairman of the board of the Vietnamese American Association.  I felt that I was prone to be a target of the Communists, the Vietnamese Communists.  Therefore, I had to try to leave.  And the day I asked someone at the U.S. Embassy to help a lot of members of my family – cousins, aunts, uncles and everyone – came to my house and asked to be rescued.  And I said even myself, I didn’t know how.  And fortunately at the last minute, I was asked to go, and I had the opportunity to be so-called married to an American pilot.  But many, many Vietnamese were there.  They stayed and they were not lucky, and they were put in jail.  Many of my friends, my colleagues from the VAA, from USIS, from the U.S. embassy affiliated offices and also with the U.S. companies.  Quite a few of them, including my brother.  My brother who had spent six years in the U.S. came back in early April.  He was asked to register, and he went to a refugee camp.  The Communists said that because he was related to the U.S., and being in the U.S. for six years, he was certainly connected to be CIA.  So he went to a refugee camp, concentration camp, and prison.  And he died of bad treatment.  A lot of my friends, Vietnamese friends, suffered the same fate.

Read the whole thing at US Diplomacy.