Watson triumphs in Jeopardy's man vs. machine challenge

In the third night of man vs. machine on Jeopardy, trounced its champion opponents.

After a slow start that saw the computer's human opponents Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter outpacing Watson, the supercomputer made a decisive comeback. At the end of the final game, Watson came away with the big win, racking up a total of $77,147, compared to $24,000 for Jennings and $21,600 for Rutter.

In , the machine may have faltered in a few categories, but was faster to the buzzer and more knowledgeable than the game show's human champions.

"It's not quite time yet to give up and welcome our new machine overlords," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "While Watson is doing some amazing and new things, it's still just a machine. The real thinking here is from the humans who designed and tuned the software."

's Jeopardy-playing supercomputer has been touted by some observers to be one of the biggest computing advancements in the past several decades.

What's so significant here? It's the computer's ability to deliver more than calculations and documents. It can answer verbal questions posed by humans. That, say IBM researchers and industry analysts, makes this machine more equipped than any before it to verbally converse with people.