It’s (not) elementary: How Watson works

What goes into making a computer understand the world through senses, learning and experience, as IBM says Watson does? First and foremost, tons and tons of data.

To build a body of knowledge for Watson to work with on Jeopardy, researchers put together 200 million pages of content, both structured and unstructured, including dictionaries and encyclopedias. When asked a question, Watson initially analyzes it using more than 100 algorithms, identifying any names, dates, geographic locations or other entities. It also examines the phrase structure and the grammar of the question to better gauge what’s being asked. In all, it uses millions of logic rules to determine the best answers.

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