A New League Leader

Japan puts China in the supercomputing back seat and, unlike China, Japan didn’t have to steal the technology to do it.

Japan’s ‘K Computer’ takes supercomputer crown

Japan’s K Computer, which can crunch more than 8 quadrillion calculations per second, is the top supercomputer, according to the Top 500 list of high-performance systems.

The K Computer, housed at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science in Kobe, puts Japan back in the top spot for the first time since Nov. 2004.

. . .

Japan’s K Computer bumped the previous top dog—China’s Tianhe-1A supercomputer. The K Computer is built by Fujitsu and has 548,352 cores, or 68,544 SPARC64 VIIIfx CPUs with eight cores each. It’s also notable that the K Computer doesn’t use graphics processors or accelerators.

See also:
Japan back on top in supercomputer race
Japanese supercomputer is world’s fastest
Japan’s “K Computer” is Now the Fastest Supercomputer in the World
Special ‘K’ fastest computer ever
If No. 2 was OK, No. 1 is better / Supercomputer impresses all, including skeptical politician Renho
Riken nabs supercomputer title
Supercomputer “K computer” Takes First Place in World
Japan Takes No. 1 Spot on Top500
Japan King Of Supercomputer Hill Again After 7-Year Hiatus
Japan Rises to Reclaim Top 500 Supercomputing Title
K Computer Makes Your Gaming Rig Look Lazy
K computer
K computer

The Japanese K computer is quite impressive, massively large, and it looks like it sucks an enormous amount of electricity. All that computing power and they still can’t accurately predict the weather.

/gee, I sure hope it doesn’t run Windows

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Meet Doctor Watson

Is there anything Watson can’t do?

IBM Watson supercomputer turns to medicine

After battling the flesh-and-blood know-it-alls on “Jeopardy!,” IBM supercomputer Watson is getting ready for its next big challenge – helping doctors navigate the increasingly complex world of medicine.

Watson is being groomed to be a bedside medical tool – digesting medical textbooks, journals, treatment guidelines as well as information from patients’ blogs to diagnose illnesses quickly and accurately.

IBM says Watson, with its ability to understand language, can absorb questions about a patient’s symptoms and medical history and quickly suggest diagnoses and treatments. They envision several uses, including a doctor speaking into a handheld device to get answers at a patient’s bedside or to serve as a second opinion. Watson could also link to electronic health records that the federal government wants hospitals to maintain.

See also:
IBM’s Watson Makes the Move From Answering Trivia Questions to Making Medical Diagnoses
IBM’s Watson leaves Jeopardy to become a doctor (Morning Read)
Jeopardy-Winning Supercomputer Watson Turns Its Sights To Medicine
IBM’s Watson supercomputer to help diagnose hospital patients
‘Jeopardy!’-Winning Computer Delving Into Medicine
Researchers Preparing IBM’s Watson Computer for Medical Applications
Watson (computer)
Watson homepage
Watson Wins!

Well, if Watson is anywhere near as good at medicine as it is at Jeopardy!, it should be a better doctor than most. Seriously, if Watson doesn’t make mistakes and gets the diagnosis right, does it really matter if it’s man or machine?

/I, for one, welcome our new doctor machine overlords

Watson Wins!

Okay, so it’s only a practice round but, nonetheless, it’s pretty damn impressive. Just remember, these aren’t ordinary Jeopardy! Champions that Watson is beating like a drum, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter are the top two all time Jeopardy! Champions.


Computer beats Jeopardy! champs – is world domination far behind?

IBM recently created a supercomputer named Watson that will compete against humans in the “Jeopardy!: IBM Challenge.”

The other two contestants? Previous “Jeopardy!” champions Ken Jennings, who won 74 consecutive matches, and Brad Rutter, who won a record-breaking $3.3 million as a contestant. The televised match will air in February, but today IBM offered a teaser in a three-round test battle.

Watson has been in the works for approximately four years. It is powered by 10 racks of IBM servers and has 15 terabytes of RAM. However, Google or KGB are no help to the machine, as it’s not connected to the Internet. Instead, it gets its information from myriad encyclopedias, dictionaries, books, and other sources of information it has digested. According to IBM, Watson has access to the equivalent of 200 million pages of content.

Watson also works just like a human contestant would: he has a buzzer and answers in the form of a question. Although as a bonus for the audience, the top three answers that Watson believes are correct are projected on a screen, giving insight into its decision-making process.

The results of the today’s match shouldn’t be too surprising. Tech blog Engadget.com
reports that no question went answered incorrectly by any of the contestants, but the computer beat the human champs, as Watson led with $4,400, Jennings was second with $3,400, and Rutter rounded out the scoring with $1,200.

See also:
IBM’s Watson supercomputer destroys all humans in Jeopardy practice round (video!)
IBM’s Jeopardy supercomputer beats humans in practice bout
IBM’s Watson wins Jeopardy practice round: Can humans hang?
Are You Smarter Than A Computer The Size Of 10 Refrigerators?
Machine Bests Man in “Jeopardy!” Practice Round
Domo arigato, Mr. Watson: IBM computer takes on ‘Jeopardy’
Jeopardy! supercomputer: Is the next game show champ a machine?
The computer wore Jeopardy’s buzzer
Computer wins first test against 2 ‘Jeopardy!’ champs
The DeepQA Project
Watson Research Center
I’ll Take Machines That Play Jeopardy For $500, Trebek

Did you watch the way Watson destroyed those two hapless human Jeopardy! champions? Instead of Jeapardy! trivia, they should stuff Watson full of all the known economic, military, scientific, and political knowledge.

/I’d vote for Watson over Obama for President in 2012, America would be a much safer and more prosperous country

Chicken Beats Egg

It’s official, you can now feel free to count your chickens before they’re hatched.

Chicken Came Before the Egg: “Scientific Proof”

British scientists claim to have solved one of the great mysteries of life, the universe and everything in it: The chicken came before the egg, they say, and they’re not mincing words.

“It had long been suspected that the egg came first, but now we have the scientific proof that shows that in fact the chicken came first,” Sheffield University’s Dr Colin Freeman, according to a report in the Metro.

Researchers from Scotland and England used a supercomputer called HECToR to look in such detail at a chicken eggshell that they were able to determine the vital role of a protein used to kick-start the egg’s formation.

That protein is only found, wait for it… inside a chicken.

Freeman, who worked on HECToR with counterparts at Edinburgh’s Warwick University, said the protein had been identified earlier by scientists and was known to be linked to egg formation, “but by examining it closely we have been able to see how it controls the process,” he added, describing it as a catalyst.

Professor John Harding, who also took part in the research, told Metro the discovery could have other applications.

“Understanding how chickens make shells is fascinating in itself, but can also give clues towards designing new materials.” he said.

Which is good, because in spite of HECToR’s hard work and the “scientific proof” it yielded, the study offered no explanation as to how the chicken got there in the first place.

If not from an egg, perhaps it just came from across the road.

See also:
‘The chicken came first, not the egg’, scientists prove
Chicken came before egg
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The chicken, researchers say!
What came first, chicken or egg?
UK scientists have proof chicken came before egg
Researchers say the chicken came before the egg in age-old riddle
Chicken-and-Egg Mystery Finally Cracked
Scientific Proof: The Chicken came before the Egg
After All These Years, It’s Been The Chicken All Along
Which came first? The chicken, not the egg!
Scientists solve chicken and egg riddle*
The Chicken and the Egg: Ancient Mystery Solved?
Scientists in Britain close to cracking chicken-egg puzzle
The chicken or the egg?

/well, now that that’s settled, you can lose sleep at night wondering where the chicken that laid the first egg came from

I’ll Take Machines That Play Jeopardy For $500, Trebek

What is Watson, Alex?

IBM supercomputer to appear on ‘Jeopardy’

What is the end of the world?

For some, it would be dedicating your life to appear on a TV game show. For others, it would be creating a machine that can prove itself better than anyone who dedicates their life to appear on a TV game show.

For myself, it seems clear that IBM has created something that will be the apogee of appointment television by honing a supercomputer to compete with the finest mailmen, insurance brokers, and nurses to prove that it can, well, find the question in the answer.

Yes, IBM’s Watson is, according to The New York Times, to appear on “Jeopardy!”!

Eric Brown, Watson’s research manager, said on the IBM video here embedded: “A question can be posed in natural language and, having read a whole bunch of information, data, documents, it can come up with a very precise answer to that question.”

This does sound very slightly like a large box of Google with human tendencies.

One of the Watson team members describes it in extremely romantic terms. He posits the “Jeopardy!” appearance as a competition between a human, who is all “carbon and water,” and Watson, rippling with its silicon and its unslippable disk.

See also:
Supercomputer plays ‘Jeopardy’
This supercomputer plans to beat humans on Jeopardy!
VIDEO: IBM’s Supercomputer to go on Jeopardy!
IBM’s Jeopardy! computer plays to win (and does)
There’s Nothing Elementary About IBM’s Remarkable Watson
What Is I.B.M.’s Watson?
IBM invites you to outwit supercomputer
The DeepQA Project
Watson Research Center

Oh sure, it’s a cute publicity stunt, man versus machine and all.

/but can Watson beat Ken Jennings?