"Jeopardy!" has a new champion, and its name is Watson.
During the Wednesday finale of the three-day "Jeopardy!" challenge that pitted all-stars Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter against an IBM supercomputer, the machine beat the men. Watson finished with $77,147, Jennings with $24,000 and Rutter with $21,600.
The win is a publicity coup for IBM, which created Watson as part of its Great Mind Challenge series. The company hopes to sell Watson's question-answering technology for use in hospitals and on call-center help desks. The last time IBM created a man-versus-machine challenge of this scale, it built Deep Blue, the chess-playing computer that beat world champion Garry Kasparov in 1997.
Watson had a huge advantage going into the final match, with a lead of more than $20,000 over Rutter, who was in second place. Though it missed a Daily Double answer regarding "The Elements of Style," it showed its versatility later, buzzing in correctly on subjects as diverse as "The Simpsons" and halter tops.