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Clarkson University to Host IBM Jeopardy! Challenge Viewing Party February 15 for North Country Students

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An IBM computing system named "Watson" will compete on Jeopardy! against the show’s two most successful and celebrated contestants -- Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

The first-ever man vs. machine Jeopardy! competition will air on February 14, 15 and 16 with two matches being played over three consecutive daysIBM Watson

Clarkson University and IBM will co-host a viewing party for North Country college and high school students on Tuesday, February 15, 6-8 p.m., in Clarkson’s new Student Center forum

The free event will feature pizza, wings, popcorn, soda and prizes, as well as a Jeopardy! competition by Alpha Kappa Psi, a co-ed professional business student fraternity.

The challenge will air at 7 p.m. on the Student Center’s big screen that night, as well as on February 14 and 16.

Kierre Daniels ’99, who has appeared on both Jeopardy and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, will be the master of ceremonies.

Clarkson alumni from IBM and other IBMers will be on campus Tuesday and Wednesday to co-host the event and meet with student groups and classes interested in Watson and the technology behind the project.

Watson, named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, was built by a team of IBM scientists who set out to accomplish a grand challenge -- build a computing system that rivals a human’s ability to answer questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence.

The Jeopardy! format provides the ultimate challenge because the game’s clues involve analyzing subtle meaning, irony, riddles, and other complexities in which humans excel and computers traditionally do not. For more information, please visit

Competing against Watson will be two of the most celebrated players ever to appear on Jeopardy! Ken Jennings broke the Jeopardy! record for the most consecutive games played by winning 74 games in a row during the 2004-2005 season, resulting in winnings of more than $2.5 million. Brad Rutter won the highest cumulative amount ever by a single Jeopardy! player, earning $3,255,102.

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.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Watson, powered by IBM POWER7, is a work-load optimized system that can answer questions posed in natural language over a nearly unlimited range of knowledge.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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