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Will Supercomputer Watson win the Jeopardy! quiz show?

Human v. Computer
16 February 2011

On Wednesday 16 February, the Information Science department of the University of Groningen will be organizing a symposium about Watson, IBM’s supercomputer. That evening, the computer will be competing in the quiz show Jeopardy! in the United States against Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, the two best human players ever.

If the trial round is a good predictor of the result, then Watson will be the winner. This would be an enormous leap forward in computer development and human-machine communication. It would surpass the achievement of the IBM computer Deep Blue, which beat the reigning chess world champion Kasparov in 1997.

The Information Science department of the University of Groningen is specialized in the automatic analysis of human language, and is itself busy developing a question-answer system (like Watson) for Dutch. The University of Groningen offers both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Information Science (Dutch-taught).

Watson will be playing against human opponents on 14, 15 and 16 February. The contests  will be broadcast live in the United States. On 16 February, three experts at the University of Groningen will explain what is going on at the event. They will use video fragments from the first two rounds to answer questions, including the following:

  • Why is this a unique achievement? How does Watson work exactly?
  • What are Watson’s limits?
  • Will we be getting a similar system for Dutch soon?
  • What does this mean for the future?

The audience and the press will also have the opportunity to ask questions.


  • Prof. Jaap van den Herik (NIAS),
  • Dr Gosse Bouma (RUG)
  • Prof. Johan Bos (RUG)

Chairman: Theo Jurriens

Wednesday 16 February 2011, 6-7 p.m., Harmonie Building, Oude Kijk in 't Jatstraat 26, 9712 EK Groningen, Room 14.14.

Note for the press
Contact: Prof. Johan Bos

Last modified:13 March 2020 01.53 a.m.
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