Jeopardy! champs ready to take on IBM computer


Two of the most celebrated Jeopardy! champions, Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings, are facing a new challenge next month – three days of sparing with the IBM “Watson” computing system. Will man or machine win?

At a press conference Thursday, Jeopardy! and IBM  announced the charities which will receive most of the prize money from the event, which will air in syndication February 14, 15 and 16. The grand prize for this competition will be $1 million, with second place earning $300,000, and third place earning $200,000. Rutter and Jennings will donate 50% of their winnings to charity, and IBM will donate 100% of its winnings to charity.

IBM will split its total winnings between each of the following charities:

World Vision: World Vision is an international humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision achieves this through community development, disaster relief and advocacy in nearly 100 countries. In partnership with World Vision, communities access the knowledge and resources needed to improve the well-being of children and overcome poverty. For disaster preparedness and response, World Vision identifies places at risk of disaster, pre-positions resources and staff in high-risk zones, and builds capacity and resiliency among communities to help them protect themselves before an emergency and rebuild afterwards. World Vision’s advocacy work involves engaging institutions and the public to address global problems that perpetuate poverty, as well as empowering communities to advocate on their own behalf. For more information, visit

World Community Grid, an initiative of the IBM International Foundation: World Community Grid’s mission is to create the world’s largest public computing grid to tackle projects that benefit humanity, such as new treatments for HIV/AIDS, cancer research and affordable water purification. The grid depends upon individuals collectively contributing their unused computer time to change the world for the better. World Community Grid makes technology available only to public and not-for-profit organizations to use in humanitarian research that might otherwise not be completed due to the high cost of the computer infrastructure required in the absence of a public grid. For more information, visit

Ken Jennings will donate 50% of his winnings to the following charity:

VillageReach: VillageReach works to improve the quality and reach of healthcare for remote, underserved communities in the developing world. Across the globe every day, far too many mothers and children in rural communities suffer or die because they have no access to quality healthcare. All too often the availability of something as simple as a vaccination costing less than twenty cents could have saved a life. VillageReach is committed to developing innovative ways to help those in need, and to measuring and documenting the results of its work. See The independent charity evaluator, GiveWell, rates VillageReach its #1 charity for effectiveness, efficiency and transparency. For more information, visit

Brad Rutter will donate 50% of his winnings to the following charity:

Lancaster County Community Foundation: Since 1924, the Community Foundation has made a positive difference in Lancaster County, Pa., helping individuals experience the power of philanthropy and supporting a wide variety of charitable projects in the community. For more information, visit

Ken Jennings broke the Jeopardy! record for the most consecutive games played by winning 74 games in a row during the 2004-2005 season, resulting in winnings of more than $2.5 million. Brad Rutter won the highest cumulative amount ever by a single Jeopardy! player, earning $3,255,102. The total amount is a combination of Rutter’s original appearance in 2000, plus three Tournament wins: the “Tournament of Champions” in 2001, the “Million Dollar Masters Tournament” in 2002 and the “Ultimate Tournament of Champions” in 2005.
Watson, named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, was built by a team of IBM scientists who set out to accomplish a grand challenge – build a computing system that rivals a human’s ability to answer questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence. The Jeopardy! format provides the ultimate challenge because the game’s clues involve analyzing subtle meaning, irony, riddles, and other language complexities in which humans excel and computers traditionally do not. For more information, please visit

Jeopardy! is produced by Sony Pictures Television, a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company. It is distributed domestically by CBS Television Distribution and internationally by CBS Television International, both units of CBS Corp.