One of the big tech stories this past week has been the 3-day Man vs. Machine challenge on popular trivia show Jeopardy!. In the 3-day event, an IBM super-computer named Watson (named after one of IBM’s co-founders) goes up against 74-time Jeopardy! winner Ken Jennings and 20-time Jeopardy! winner Brad Rutter.

IBM’s Watson is unique because it somehow masters the complex structure of human language, something that isn’t easily computable in numbers and logical steps which are normally easy feats for machines. To make a super-computer that could handle language in all of its complexity (including jokes, sarcasm, popular culture, etc.), IBM engineers and programmers wrote many, many different algorithms for the human language and built a machine that was the equivalent of about 6000 high-end home computers. In the end, Watson not only had the speed needed to push the Jeopardy! trigger, but also ended up besting top Jeopardy! champions in all 3 rounds.

Quite an incredible feat for computers I think. Check out the video above from PBS NewsHour that sums up the uniqueness of this IBM super-computer.