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MIT, Harvard students go up against Watson in 'Jeopardy'-style bout

It’s a battle of man versus machine as students from two of the state’smost prestigious universities attempt to go head to head withtelevision’s infamous information-slinging robot.

It’s a battle of man versus machine as students from two of the state’s most prestigious universities attempt to go head to head with television’s infamous information-slinging robot.

Today, teams of coeds from Harvard Business School and MIT Sloan School of Management will battle it out in a game of wits in a “Jeopardy”-type challenge against IBM’s Watson, a supercomputer.

“Watson has, essentially, a seemingly unlimited ability to digest information and unlike traditional search systems, it gives you a clear answer,” said Bernie Meyerson, vice president of Innovation and Academic Programs at IBM. “It’s revolutionary, there is no such thing out there right now like it.”

This is the second time in history, said Meyerson, that the computer gurus have put Watson up against a panel of students.

The company uses the opportunity to “tune up” Watsons intellect.

“The reason we go out to these students, they are the best and brightest,” said Meyerson. “But Watson is one of the greatest information accelerators of all time — it’s like being hooked up to the Matrix.”

The power behind Watson’s mechanical mind has Harvard student Jayanth Iyenga slightly spooked, but he is up for the challenge, he said.

“We have a good team, and I’m sure MIT [does] as well,” said Iyenga. “But what I’ve seen of the matches with Watson, it will be a tough matchup.” Iyenga said he spent the weekend hitting the books with his fellow panelists to prepare for the duel.

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear.

 
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