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McCormick Professor Compares Watson and Deep Blue in Popular Science

Professor Doug Downey helps Popular Science answer which computer is smarter

Dec 28, 2012

Doug Downey, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science and a machine learning and artificial intelligence researcher at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, was featured in a recent article in Popular Science discussing the differences between IBM’s famous Watson and Deep Blue artificial intelligence computers.

Doug Downey

Approached to help Popular Science answer which computer is smarter, Downey noted that major differences stem from each machine’s unique use. After all, Deep Blue beat chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997 using a vast understanding of scenarios and probability, while Watson beat Jeopardy! champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in 2011 with a previously unseen awareness of human knowledge and language. 

According to Downey, future advanced computers will likely combine the unique capabilities of Watson and Deep Blue, creating a machine that could greatly help researchers and innovators make strides in fields like medicine.

“That’s kind of where we’re going as field: a system that’s as broad as Watson but as deep as Deep Blue," Downey said in the article


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