Thursday, March 24, 2011

IBM Watson Creates History! -- TECH-i-LICIOUS

I’m super excited writing this edition of Tech-i-licious not because this is our 3rd successful edition, but because we finally see IBM Watson winning over Jeopardy! champions in a thrilling nail biting finale episode. Watson changed the game when it chose to answer the question for $1600, which luckily carried the ‘Daily Double’ that worked in Watson’s favor. The ride wasn’t smooth for Watson as it began slow and challenging human brains of the previous Jeopardy! champions was indeed a tricky job.

Watch Watson creating History!

I guess now the question becomes what goes behind Watson’s immensely powerful intelligence system. Let’s dig up some history and try to unearth the answer.

Watson – Deep Dive
Watson is an artificial intelligence computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language, developed in IBM's DeepQA project by a research team led by principal investigator David Ferrucci. Watson was named for IBM's first president, Thomas J. Watson. The program operates on POWER7 processor-based systems.

In 2011, as a test of its abilities, Watson competed on the quiz show Jeopardy!, in the show's first and only human-versus-machine matchup. In a two-game, combined-point match, broadcast in three Jeopardy episodes February 14–16, Watson bested Brad Rutter, the biggest all-time money winner on Jeopardy!, and Ken Jennings, the record holder for the longest championship streak. Watson received the first prize of $1 million, while Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter received $300,000 and $200,000, respectively. Jennings and Rutter pledged to donate half their winnings to charity, while IBM divided Watson's winnings between two charities.

In the match, all contestants, including Watson, had to wait until host Alex Trebek spoke each clue entirely, then a light was lit as a signal; the first to activate their buzzer button won the chance to respond. Although Watson suffers from cognitive deficiencies when analyzing the clue's contexts, it typically activated its button faster than its opponents. Watson also only had trouble responding to a few categories, such as short clues containing only a few words. For each clue, Watson's three most probable responses were displayed by the television screen. Watson had access to 200 million pages of structured and unstructured content consuming four terabytes of hard disk storage, including the full text of Wikipedia. Watson was not connected to the Internet during the game.

How does Watson compete on Jeopardy!
When playing Jeopardy!, all players, including Watson, had to wait until the host spoke each clue entirely, then a light was lit as a "ready" signal; the first to activate their buzzer button won the chance to respond. Watson received the clues as electronic texts at the same moment they were made visible to the human players. It would then parse the clues into different keywords and sentence fragments in order to find related phrases in terms of statistics. Watson's main innovation was not in the creation of new algorithm for this operation, but rather its ability to quickly execute thousands of proven language analysis algorithms simultaneously to find the correct answer. The more algorithms that find the same answer independently, the more likely Watson is to be correct. Once Watson has a small number of potential solutions, it is able to check against its database to ascertain if the solution makes sense. In a sequence of 20 mock games, human participants were able to use the average six to seven seconds that needed to hear the clue and decide whether to signal for responding. During that time, Watson also has to evaluate the response and determine if it is sufficiently confident in the result to signal. Part of the system used to win the Jeopardy! contest was the electronic circuitry that received the "ready" signal and then examined whether Watson's confidence level was great enough to activate the buzzer. Given the speed of this circuitry compared to the speed of human reaction times, Watson's reaction time was faster than the human contestants, except when the human successfully anticipated (instead of reacted to) the ready signal. After signaling, Watson speaks with an electronic voice and gives the responses in Jeopardy!'s question format.

And yes, if you wish to challenge Watson on Jeopardy! right here from the convenience of your desk, try it here, and let me know your score on twitter @4LOK

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

TECH-i-LICIOUS -- January 2011

If you are new to this column and do not really know what TECH-i-LICIOUS is all about here is what you should know, TECH-i-LICIOUS is your monthly dose of all things; gadgets to technology trends to new media that is making waves these days.

So let’s get started with what’s making news!

What’s making news!

Lotusphere – World’s premier collaboration conference kicks off January 30th.

Snippets from the 2011 International Consumer Electronic Show, held from 6-9 January at Las Vegas.

Plus a recap of Social Business predictions for 2011 from t

he Sandy Carter, Vice President, IBM Social Software, Lotus.

Lotusphere 2011

Lotusphere is an annual conference hosted by Lotus Group, IBM Software.

Except for the first conference, which took place in December 1993, Lotusphere is held in late January. It starts with a reception party on Sunday night and continuing on through the closing session on Thursday afternoon. The conference uses the conference rooms in the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels.

In addition to the annual conference in Florida, there is also an annual Lotusphere Europe conference. This year is no different; the conference will kick off on January 30th and will continue till February 3rd.

A special event named IBM Social Business Industries Symposium, in conjunction with Lotusphere 2011 for executive-level leaders, will also take place on January 31st and February 1st. The IBM

Social Business Industries Symposium is targeted for C-level and senior leaders from sales, marketing, HR, operations, customer service, and product development, where they can learn on how to get started to become a social business. The USP of the show is to exhibit how proposed clients can drive measurable results and attain competitive advantage by applying proven social business practices with customers, partners, and across the employee population. You can follow @collabagenda and @lotusknows on twitter to learn more.

CES 2011

The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is a major technology-related trade show held each January in the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada. Not open to the public, the Consumer Electronics Association-sponsored show typically hosts previews of products and new product announcements. The 2011 edition of the annual Consumer Electronics Show saw an overload of tablet PCs, along with the usual collection of smart phones, laptops and others gadgets. Nearly every major original equipment manufacturer either launched or introduced or displayed a tablet at CES. A large number of those tablets were based on Android; a smaller portion of these were also Windows based. Let us look at those tablets that stole the show at the recently concluded CES 2011.

  • Motorola Xoom -- Motorola Xoom grabbed the most headlines being the first tablet based on Google’s Honeycomb (Android 3.0) operating system, and eventually was crowned the best gadget of the show.
  • BlackBerry PlayBook -- Research In Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook is a 7-inch tablet running on a 1GHz processor and 1GB of memory, has HD cameras at the front and rear (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing), and runs on the BlackBerry Tablet operating system.
  • Lenovo LePad -- The Lenovo LePad is an Android tablet powered by a dual-core 1.3 GHz Snapdragon CPU, 1 GB of memory and 16 or 32 GB SSD.
  • Dell Streak 7 -- Dell Streak 7 is powered by a dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and 16GB of internal memory.
  • Toshiba -- Toshiba unveiled a yet to be named 10.1-Inch Tablet powered by Tegra 2 and running Android Honeycomb.
  • Acer Iconia Dual-Screen Tablet -- This offering from Acer is a dual-screen laptop/tablet PC from Acer running Windows 7.

Social Business Predications– 11 in 2011 by Sandy carter

  1. Virtual gifting will become mainstream. The research shows that people value virtual gifts as much as real gifts. Social dating sites already make lots of money on virtual roses and IBM did the virtual “hex” necklace for our great developers. What will 2011 bring!
  2. Crowdsourcing will be used by the crowds. Crowds of successful companies that is. The most competitive and successful companies in 2011 will use crowdsourcing for new products and services. Enough said.
  3. Social media and gaming will interconnect and gaming will become “the” currency in 2011. Games like Farmville will become the norm due to the popularity of gaming with all ages and the fun, teachable moments that encompass it. Aren’t Foursquare and Gowalla just gaming platforms? Will everything become a gaming platform? I think so!!
  4. Everything is Mobile. I am now on my iPhone more than my computer. In 2011, your cell phone will grow in its usage from wallet, ticket broker, concierge, bank, shopping buddy and more.
  5. Cyberwarfare has just begun. With the Wikileaks publicity, cyberwarfare has just begun. Its power is great and it numbers more than we can imagine.
  6. Talent will select companies who embrace social media. Talented resources will want to work for the uberconnected company. Beware — those of you out there who still restrict your employees.
  7. Put a ring on it. Engagement is Queen! Customer engagement is the winning strategy in 2011. Purchases are often the result of emotions, maximizing a customer’s hands-on experience within the environment.
  8. Crystal balls are required. Social Analytics that not only tell you what’s been done but also predict based on that information, will be the wave of the future.
  9. Friends matter most. In the next five years, consumers will increasingly rely on themselves – and the opinions of each other – to make purchasing decisions rather than wait for help from companies. 2011 is the time to get yourself a group of Brand Advocates to assist your brand!
  10. PR is 2.0. The potential for PR 2.0 is immense, and I don’t think anyone realizes that PR 2.0 will educate citizens and influence so many in ways corporations and governments have not realized … yet!
  11. Social business not Social Media. Today, companies are using social media to talk to clients, to do sentiment analysis…all important. But 2011 will be the Social Business year. Social business is about being able to leverage social tools to have sell side analysts communicate to institutional traders, reinvented CRM systems, social learning, and process changes to incorporate social.

With that it’s a wrap of January issue. Please keep follow me on

Sunday, January 09, 2011

...and world is our playground

there is always some more friends to make;
there is always a space at the table;
there is always a new game to play;
and its changing everyday; so many new faces;
they are dreaming wide awake; no time to raise the day;
world is our playground

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Tech-i-licious -- December 2010

Explicit Geeky Stuff Guaranteed!

You need NOT be a nerd to learn about new technology; starting today find everything new-tech in a crisp and delicious avatar.

Presenting TECH-i-LICIOUS, Everything Geeky Yet Fab.

What’s making News!

Samsung-Google latest child, Nexus S, named after Google’s premarital miscarriage Nexus One. Xbox gets the much awaited motion gaming upgrade. Galaxy Tab and iPad fist fight. Plus a quick recap of the ten most powerful tweets of 2010.

But before this, let’s face the truth. IBM is among the top 3 employers for Social Media professionals, as per a study done by Mashable. IBM claims to have the largest corporate network of employees using social media, with more than 200,000 employees on LinkedIn, the same amount on Facebook and 70,000 members of its in-house social network “SocialBlue.”

Company wide, IBM encourages the use of social media and says it has invested “heavily” in social media tools to help employees collaborate more effectively. In order to help employees understand what is expected of them in the social space, IBM first published its “IBM Social Computing Guidelines” in 2005 and since then the guidelines have been revised by employees three times. Read more »

Google Nexus S

Google has turned to Samsung for the next generation of Nexus device, this time known as the Google Nexus S. The “S” heritage plays it straight down the line as an evolution of the Samsung Galaxy S. Nexus S is the first smartphone to have the 2.3 version of Android named Gingerbread. Gingerbread is the fastest version of Android yet, and it delivers a number of improvements, such as user interface refinements, a new keyboard and text selection tool, Internet calling etc.

Nexus S Video

Xbox Kinect

Microsoft Xbox finally gets the much awaited motion gaming functionality and it certainly looks the best among all. The first and only gaming station that actively integrates both voice, a camera and full-body sensing into games and the core Xbox experience. Gesture navigation consists of moving your hand in time with the cursor, holding it in place while a selection confirms. It works, and is fairly accurate; with the only downside being things take longer than with a controller. Voice, on the other hand, works almost flawlessly, even if you're limited in things you can do with it because you're just saying words that are on screen. It's accurate, even mid-movie, thanks to its directional mikes. If I had to choose between gestures and voice, I'd choose voice when possible. And guess what you need not dump your existing Xbox 360 or the previous version; just upgrade it to Kinect with a price under INR 10k.

The Big Fight: iPad v/s Galaxy Tab



Galaxy Tab


Viewing Experience

768 x 1,024 pixels

600 x 1,024 pixels

iPad wins; better viewing experience

Portability (screen size diagonally)



Galaxy Tab wins; Ease of use

Speed (processor)

Apple A4

Crotex A8



WiFi (3G at extra cost) + Bluetooth 2.1

3G + WiFi + Bluetooth 3.0 + USB

Galaxy Tab wins



Dual Camera

Enables Video calling; Galaxy Tab Wins


Around 3000 apps at iTunes

Much lesser apps for tablets at Android Market

iPad wins

Price (in INR)

45,000 (includes duty charges, officially yet to be launched in India)


Galaxy Tab wins

The Final Verdict: Though iPad scores greatly at number of apps, Galaxy Tab is a clear winner due to portability and advanced connectivity features.

From the Twitterverse: A quick peek into the 10 most powerful tweets of 2010 --

Tech-i-licious Recommended App: Endomondo available for iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Android and Symbian

Suggestions, Feedback: 4LOK

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Husband's nightmare

A man came home from work and found his three children outside, still
in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and
wrappers strewn all around the front yard. The door of his wife's car
was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of
the dog.

Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess.

A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against
one wall. In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon
channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items
of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food
was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food
was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a
small pile of sand was spread by the back door.

He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of
clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried
she may be ill, or that something serious had happened.

He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the
bath room door. As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap
and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a
heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls.

As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the
bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and
asked how his day went.

He looked at her bewildered and asked, "What happened here today?"

She again smiled and answered, "You know every day when you come home
from work and you ask me what in the world did I do today?"

"Yes," was his incredulous reply.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Is cupid safe?

WHILE the entire world had been busy tossing the ball of blame on terrorism from one country to the other, we see a new class of terrorism breeding right in our own backyard. The targeted hotel and tourism industry hasn’t yet been able to do away with the blood stains of 26/11; and while Dalal Street is still sinking down and deeper due to so called ‘economic meltdown’; we as democratic Indians are witnessing the most shameful play of moral policing, starring the hooligans as lawmakers, aam public as victim and of course the politicians as the directors of the play. Bangalore, the pub city of India suddenly woke up to moral essaying from one of the leaders of these radicals, upon whose direction the girls were being assaulted at a pub in Mangalore earlier this month. The self-appointed custodian of the Hindu culture and his sena of hindu radicals are on the mission to destroy the global image of the country. We are still not being able to cope up with the sins of Satyam and what we see now is another jolt to the state of the nation.

The newest agenda in sena’s list is to ban Valentine Day as it is against the culture of India, according to it. The monster-in-chief, of sena has its own story to link it with the V-day, “It destroys the family structure”. “The West has short-term relationships and that is why they need a specific day to celebrate love. We should not follow Western culture. In India, marriages are for a lifetime and love for your partner is a never-ending affair. And it should be shown in your home”

The sleepy government finally woke up today and if they were to believe “Cupid is safe”