That's Chef Watson to you

AUSTIN, Texas -- We know that IBM's Watson computer is the world's best "Jeopardy" player. But does it have a clue about what tastes good?

On Thursday night, I was one of a small and very lucky group of people invited to an IBM event to find out.

Called "Cognitive cooking," the event was a demonstration of Watson's so-called "computational creativity." Essentially, the idea went, IBM set out to have its famous computer help design a gourmet meal, one filled with dishes made from recipes the world had never seen before. … Read more

The 404 1,421: Where we would like to make it a true Daily Double (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Smartphone surprise success Flappy Bird earns $50K per day.

- Pay this no mind: DMX will fight George Zimmerman in a boxing match.

- Meet the man who's hacking "Jeopardy"!

- George Clooney says he'll NEVER be on Twitter.… Read more

Create 'Jeopardy'-style quiz presentations with PowerPoint Jeopardy

I'll take "PowerPoint Templates" for $300, Alex. This free template lets PowerPoint users create their own version of the popular quiz show "Jeopardy" by entering their own answers and questions (and, yes, the order is correct, answers first). What is PowerPoint Jeopardy? Correct!

OK, so that was probably one of the easiest "Jeopardy" questions ever, but that's fitting because PowerPoint Jeopardy is easy to set up and use, once you've enabled macros in PowerPoint (instructions are included). You simply enter the categories, answers, and questions in the provided space and click … Read more

Watson leader highlights list of eight new IBM Fellows

For months, IBM's "Jeopardy" champion computer Watson has been a major PR win for the company, and tonight, its lead developer was awarded Big Blue's highest technical honor.

At a ceremony in New York, CEO Samuel Palmisano celebrated Watson team leader David Ferrucci and seven other employees as IBM's newest Fellows. The eight new Fellows join a group of just 209 previous winners, among whom have been the creators of technologies such as DRAM, the scanning tunneling microscope, Fortran, and relational databases.

And while the other seven 2011 winners include scientists and innovators who have … Read more

N.J. Congressman: I beat Watson

An IBM supercomputer named Watson has made headlines for the past month for its ability to defeat the most successful human champions from classic game show "Jeopardy"--but it looks like one New Jersey congressman, Rush Holt, got the better of Watson in a round of the game in Washington, D.C., last night.

"I played a full round against @IBMWatson tonight and was proud to hold my own: the final tally was Holt $8,600, Watson $6,200," tweeted the Democratic Congressman, who has represented New Jersey's 12th district, a section of the middle … Read more

IBM's Watson gets smashed on 'Conan'

"She likes things with big batteries."

These were the words that propelled IBM's Watson from cold, calculating machine to charming talk show guest on "Conan" tonight.

Watson hadn't even broken a sweat in defeating Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, two inferior human beings, in a faintly silly game show.

Appearing on "Conan," though, gave Watson the chance to show his frilly underskirts.

Who likes things with big batteries? Why, Conan sidekick Andy Richter's wife.

"I can love," Watson offered to Richter's question as to whether he is able … Read more

'Jeopardy' III: Watson HALs his way with the humans

It was all over bar the pouting.

Still, Watson, the IBM supercomputer that wishes to put the sheen into machine, tried to be human. This, in the final round of the IBM Jeopardy Challenge, proved largely beyond his program.

Watson had decimated the human race in Round 2, posterizing his opponents with an array of slam dunks.

In Round 3, try as he might, he couldn't buzz slow enough or make his metal-headed intuition poor enough to lose to human "Jeopardy" greats, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Even though Watson had no clue that Slovenia was now … Read more

IBM researchers show love for 'Jeopardy' champion Watson

SAN JOSE, Calif.--I'm going to just come out and admit it--I was rooting for the humans.

By "humans," of course, I mean Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, two men who on the one hand are the greatest champions in the history of "Jeopardy" and who on the other just ended up getting their butts handed to them at the game by a computer that didn't even seem to know that Toronto isn't in the United States.

In case you were somehow in a cabin in the mountains with no Internet access and … Read more

Despite reports, Watson did not crash during 'Jeopardy' taping

Correction at 12:04 p.m.: After this story was published, we heard from PBS producer Michael Bicks that it was not, in fact, Watson that crashed during the show's taping. He would like to make clear the following: "I missblogged last night--It was not Watson, but the system that was the interface between Watson and the Jeopardy computer, completely separate from Watson, that crashed during the taping."

It's been a little difficult coming to terms with the end of civilization.

Watching IBM's Watson last night make spaghetti bolognese out of the silent lambs of … Read more

IBM's Watson jeopardizes humanity in game 2

I have an idea for a new TV show. Two men stand, almost in silence, while a machine talks in a monotone and shows the world how clever it is. Will it sell? Perhaps that depends on the ratings for Part 2 of IBM's Jeopardy Challenge. Hollywood loves to copy.

Tonight's episode showed that IBM's Watson supercomputer--and the highly paid engineers who made Watson what he is--had merely been toying with the humans yesterday.

Those few errors IBM's Watson committed in the first of three "Jeopardy" shows against former champion Ken Jennings and Brad … Read more