23 February 2011

Jeopardy! trivia

I watched the Jeopardy! match featuring Watson vs humans, and was decidedly "underwhelmed."  The programs seemed to be structured mostly as an advertisement for IBM's prowess.  But the event has triggered some interesting articles on the web, including an assortment of interesting trivia posted at Slate. Here, for example, are the most commonly used Jeopardy! categories:

TYWKIWDBI doesn't have a category in the sidebar for "before and after," but we've got most of the other ones covered.  Here are some other interesting tidbits:
What's the most common answer on Jeopardy? That would be "What is Australia?" That response appears 208 times. In fact, thanks to the prominence of geography-related categories, the Top 23 answers are all places. (Click here for a list.) At No. 24: George Washington.

...where's the best place on the board to find a Daily Double? Far from being randomly distributed, Daily Doubles are heavily concentrated at the bottom of the board. Of the roughly 10,000 such clues logged on J-Archive, 92 percent were in the bottom three (of five) rows. In fact, only two Daily Doubles in the archive ever appeared in the top-left corner, once in 1999 and then in 2003. The cell densest with Daily Doubles? Fourth from the top, far left—home to 834 of them, or 8 percent of the total.

As players descend the gameboard's rows, the clues get harder: 96 percent of clues in the top row are solved, 91 percent in the second row, 86 percent in the third row, 80 percent in the fourth row, and just 71 percent in the bottom row.
There's more at the link.


  1. I'll take "Lithuanian poetry of the fifth century" for 400.

  2. I might have been impressed if Watson had competed equally by taking in the questions the same way as Jennings and Rutter--auditorily and visually and had to process that just as the humans did. The "contest" turned out to be just another infomercial with a secondary contest between Jennings and Rutter for the greater of two appearance fees!


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