Computer named Watson Competes on Jeopardy

February 14, 2011 Updated Feb 15, 2011 at 12:29 AM EDT

By WKBW News

February 14, 2011 Updated Feb 15, 2011 at 12:29 AM EDT

BUFFALO (WKBW) Imagine a supercomputer that could answer questions and take on two of the trivia masters of our generation. It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie. But Monday night it became a reality, and it happened on national television.

Monday on Jeopardy, a computer was one of the contestants.

Alex Trebek opened Monday's show by calling it "an exhibition match pitting an IBM computer system against the two most celebrated and skillful players in Jeopardy history."

Tournament of Champions winner Brad Rutter took on Jeopardy legend Ken Jennings. The two men battled an IBM supercomputer named Watson.

IBM researcher Dr. Chris Welty explained how a computer could take on humans in a game show. "Watson takes a question, parcels it out, comes up with a bunch of guesses, and uses these algorithms to score the answers and figure out what is the best answer," he said during Monday's show.

The man versus machine buzz even made it to Western New York. Nietzsche's Bar in Allentown held a Jeopardy viewing party Monday night. They also put on a Jeopardy game of their own.

"I made my own version of Jeopardy, and we're going to have a little fun. We've got categories like local music and quotes and things about the bar itself, so it should be a lot of fun," bartender Susan Peters said.

Click on the above video to see what happened on night one of competition.

The competition between Watson, Brad, and Ken will continue Tuesday and Wednesday as part of a three night event. Jeopardy can be seen on Channel 7, starting at 7:30.