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Schooling = educating? Far From Elementary = ?

 
 
Reply Fri 16 Sep, 2011 07:35 pm

Context:



NEWSMAKER INTERVIEW: NICO SCHLAEFER
Schooling the Jeopardy! Champ: Far From Elementary

Answer: These instructions in IBM’s com-
puter, Watson, vanquished two human Jeop-
ardy! champions on February 14, 15, and 16.
Question: What are 100 algorithms?
For 7 years, IBM researchers toiled to build
a machine that could win the game show
Jeopardy! They were secretly developing
question-answer (QA) systems: software that
enables a computer to understand and answer
spoken questions. IBM announced the project
to academic researchers in 2008. A year ear-
lier, however, the company invited computer
scientists from Carnegie Mellon University
(CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to two
workshops at its research center in Yorktown
Heights, New York.

For CMU graduate student Nico
Schlaefer, the workshops—which he attended
with his adviser, computer science professor
and QA expert Eric Nyberg—were a turning
point. As an undergraduate at the Univer-
sity of Karlsruhe in Germany and a visiting
scholar at CMU in 2005, Schlaefer had built
a QA system called Ephyra. Impressed, IBM
offered Schlaefer a summer internship with
the project—the fi rst of three he spent working
on Watson. Last week, Schlaefer, now a Ph.D.
candidate at CMU and an IBM Ph.D. Fellow,
told Science about the algorithm he contrib-
uted to the now-world-famous computer. His
comments have been edited for brevity.
–KAREN A. FRENKEL
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Type: Question • Score: 1 • Views: 1,248 • Replies: 11
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Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Fri 16 Sep, 2011 09:21 pm
@oristarA,
The schooling part is easy. As you've already surmised, Ori, it's the same as educating, tutoring, instructing or any other word you can think of that means essentially the same thing.

The elementary part is harder to explain because, in part, it's a cultural reference. Notice that in the first paragraph somebody named Watson seems to be addressed. This is a reference to Dr. Watson, the alter-ego of Sherlock Holmes, the fictional detective created by Sir Conan Doyle in the late 19th Century. In many of the Sherlock Holmes stories Holmes would say to Watson, "Watson, it's elemantary" meaning that a solution to a case they were investigating, although hopelessly complicated-seeming to both Watson and the reader of the story, had been simplicity itself for Holmes to solve. Thus elementary=simple, but it's important to know why that particular word is used. It would make little sense without the reference to Watson further on.
oristarA
 
  2  
Reply Sat 17 Sep, 2011 01:29 am
@Lustig Andrei,
Lustig Andrei wrote:

The schooling part is easy. As you've already surmised, Ori, it's the same as educating, tutoring, instructing or any other word you can think of that means essentially the same thing.

The elementary part is harder to explain because, in part, it's a cultural reference. Notice that in the first paragraph somebody named Watson seems to be addressed. This is a reference to Dr. Watson, the alter-ego of Sherlock Holmes, the fictional detective created by Sir Conan Doyle in the late 19th Century. In many of the Sherlock Holmes stories Holmes would say to Watson, "Watson, it's elemantary" meaning that a solution to a case they were investigating, although hopelessly complicated-seeming to both Watson and the reader of the story, had been simplicity itself for Holmes to solve. Thus elementary=simple, but it's important to know why that particular word is used. It would make little sense without the reference to Watson further on.


Excellent!
Thank you.

So "Far From Elementary" = " quite complicated" ?


Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Sat 17 Sep, 2011 01:30 am
@oristarA,
Exactly.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Sat 17 Sep, 2011 04:47 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Quote:
it's a cultural reference. Notice that in the first paragraph somebody named Watson seems to be addressed. This is a reference to Dr. Watson,


Watson is the name of IBM's computer, Merry. I don't think that there is any intended reference to SH's man Watson.

Quote:
Watson, besides being the name of the founder of IBM and the name of the IBM T.J. Watson Research Laboratory,

http://www.research.ibm.com/deepqa/faq.shtml
Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Sat 17 Sep, 2011 05:29 pm
@JTT,
JTT wrote:

Quote:
it's a cultural reference. Notice that in the first paragraph somebody named Watson seems to be addressed. This is a reference to Dr. Watson,


Watson is the name of IBM's computer, Merry. I don't think that there is any intended reference to SH's man Watson.

Quote:
Watson, besides being the name of the founder of IBM and the name of the IBM T.J. Watson Research Laboratory,

http://www.research.ibm.com/deepqa/faq.shtml



I know that Watson is what IBM is calling that computer. But I somehow doubt very much that the writer of the piece would have gone out of his way to use the word "elementary" in conjunction with "Watson" if it were not for the Holmes connection. It's such an obvious reference to, "Elementary, my dear Watson," a phrase which has become a cliche.
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Sat 17 Sep, 2011 05:32 pm
And, frankly, I doubt that the choice of the name Watson by IBM is just a coincidence either. It's not very computerese sounding. I believe the folks at IBM had Sir Arthur's eponymic character in mind all the time.
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Sat 17 Sep, 2011 07:55 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Quote:
And, frankly, I doubt that the choice of the name Watson by IBM is just a coincidence either.


Perhaps you missed this,

"Watson, besides being the name of the founder of IBM and the name of the IBM T.J. Watson Research Laboratory, "

Quote:
But I somehow doubt very much that the writer of the piece would have gone out of his way to use the word "elementary" in conjunction with "Watson" if it were not for the Holmes connection. It's such an obvious reference to, "Elementary, my dear Watson," a phrase which has become a cliche.


Why would be out of his way, if, as you've noted, it's become a cliche?

Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Sun 18 Sep, 2011 01:18 am
@JTT,
You just never give up, do you, JTT? OK, so Watson, the computer, was named for Watson, the founder of IBM. I still maintain that the writer's use of "elementary" in combination with "Watson" is a culturally-influenced choice of expression, deriving from the Conan Doyle characters.
oristarA
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Sep, 2011 02:34 am
Does "Champ" mean "Champion"?

Context:

NEWSMAKER INTERVIEW: NICO SCHLAEFER
Schooling the Jeopardy! Champ: Far From Elementary
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Sun 18 Sep, 2011 12:26 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Quote:
You just never give up, do you, JTT?


Stop playing the hurt little Merry game, Merry. You may be right, even about the naming of the computer. Maybe it was named after the SH's character.

Your story certainly hasn't diminished Ori's knowledge of English, in fact, I'd say that it has enhance it. I just think you leaped to a conclusion that was a little too big.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Sep, 2011 12:39 pm
@oristarA,
Yuppers, it does, Ori.
0 Replies
 
 

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