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­md Researchers' Computer Beats 'jeopardy!' Star Ken Jennings at Trivia

By Diamondback (MD)

October 21, 2015

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University of Maryland (UMD) researchers have developed QANTA, a computerized question-answering system that defeated former "Jeopardy!" champion Ken Jennings 300 to 160 in an exhibition trivia bowl match at the University of Washington in Seattle on Oct. 2.

QANTA features a system that reads the questions in text form and creates a set of possible answers, and a system that looks for evidence supporting each possible answer from sources such as Wikipedia, books, and poetry.

QANTA previously competed in a quiz bowl match against a team of other former "Jeopardy!" contestants, and tied with the team 200 to 200. The researchers added more data to QANTA before the match with Jennings.

The system struggled with popular-culture questions, which depend on changing trends instead of established facts and sources, according to UMD doctoral student Mohit Iyyer. The researchers plan to add more information to the system moving forward.

QANTA, a joint project at UMD's information studies college and its Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, also could have applications in language translation and political discourse.

In addition, the researchers want to improve QANTA so it can track and predict opponent behavior in a debate, says UMD professor Hal Daume III.

In an effort to advance the field as a whole, the researchers made all of QANTA's code open source.

From Diamondback (MD)
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