Entries in Ken Jennings (3)


Want to Win at ‘Jeopardy!’? Champ Has an App for That

Sony Pictures Television(WASHINGTON) -- Roger Craig is one of the biggest winners ever on TV’s Jeopardy! He won $77,000 in a single day -- more than the record-setting Ken Jennings, even more than IBM’s Watson computer. In seven days, he racked up $231,200 in winnings.

The "Final Jeopardy" question on the last day that ended his streak was about sports.

He’s smart, but he didn’t just use his smarts to memorize a lot of trivia. He’s a computer scientist who was finishing his Ph.D. at the University of Delaware when he first went on the game in 2010 -- and before playing he developed a computer app to help figure out the patterns of questions on the show.

In a talk at New York University, he said he went to a website called J! Archive, where fans have diligently recorded the clues on the show, game after game. He said the questions really aren’t random when you put them through a computer.

“A lot of people will say, ‘Oh, Jeopardy! asks about anything,’ but it really doesn’t,” he said in the NYU talk, posted on Vimeo. “It comes back to capitals, presidents, Shakespeare, and there are hundreds of other categories, but it will never ask really obscure things in an obscure field.”

He appears on the game show’s website, smiling with Alex Trebek and admitting that while he wasn’t surprised he won, he is a bit surprised at his new fame: “I was a little naïve about the power of television when I first was on.”

Craig has publicly said he’d like to reconfigure his app as an educational tool, though not with questions from Jeopardy!

He said he plans to give some of his winnings to Virginia Tech and the University of Delaware, where he studied.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Computer Watson Wins 'Jeopardy!'s' 'Man vs. Machine' Competition

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- All hail Watson, the champion of Jeopardy!'s "man vs. machine" competition.

The IBM supercomputer defeated former Jeopardy! champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter on Wednesday night after earning $77,147 over the course of the three-day tournament.  Jennings earned a total of $24,000, and Rutter earned $21,600.

Once Wednesday's game reached "Final Jeopardy," Jennings seemed to sense that Watson had the victory in the bag.  As part of his response to the "Final Jeopardy" "answer," Jennings wrote, "I for one welcome our new computer overlords."

Thanks to Watson, IBM will receive a total of $1 million, which it will donate to the World Vision and World Community Grid charities.  Jennings is awarded $300,000, and Rutter gets $200,000.  They'll donate 50 percent of their take to charity.

The tournament provided a big boost to Jeopardy!'s ratings.  Monday's edition of the long-running quiz show was the highest-rated in four years, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Watson the Computer Has Comfortable Lead on 'Jeopardy!'

Photo Courtesy - IBM(LOS ANGELES) -- On the second day of the "man vs. machine" competition on Jeopardy!, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter proved to be no match for the IBM supercomputer known as Watson.

Watson crushed his human opponents on Tuesday night's edition of Jeopardy!, raising its overall total to $35,734.  Rutter has $10,400 entering the final day of competition on Wednesday, while Jennings has $4,800.

Watson provided an unusual but amusing moment when it wagered $6,435 on a "Daily Double" question.  The audience laughed at the apparently random wager, and host Alex Trebek quipped, "I won't ask."

Watson entered another odd wager during "Final Jeopardy" -- $947 -- which it lost after giving an incorrect response to the following "answer": "Its largest airport is named for a World War II hero; its second largest, for a World War II battle."  Jennings and Rutter, the two most successful contestants in Jeopardy! history, both correctly responded Chicago, but Watson guessed, "What is Toronto?????," with five question marks -- a sign the computer wasn't sure of its answer.

Tuesday's match-up was a continuation of the game that aired Monday night.  The third and final battle between Jennings, Rutter and Watson will air Wednesday.  The winner receives $1 million, with the runner-up getting $300,000 and the third-place finisher receiving $200,000.  IBM will donate all of its winnings to charity, and Jennings and Rutter will donate 50 percent of their take to charity.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio