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Jeopardy! and IBM Announce Charities to Benefit from Watson Competition

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Whether man or machine wins in the February TV game show contest, worthy charities will reap the benefits.


Jeopardy! and IBM have revealed the nonprofit beneficiaries of the upcoming contest between two of the most celebrated Jeopardy! champions–Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings–and IBM’s “Watson” computing system.

The first-ever man versus machine Jeopardy! competition will air February 14, 15 and 16, with two matches being aired over three consecutive days. 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 percent of their winnings to charity, and IBM will donate 100 percent of its winnings to charity.

Jeopardy! Host and Contestants
Champion Jeopardy! contestants Brad Rutter, left, and Ken Jennings, right, pose with longtime TV show host Alex Trebec.

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 www.worldvision.org.
  • 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 www.worldcommunitygrid.org.

Ken Jennings will donate 50 percent 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 www.villagereach.org. The independent charity evaluator, GiveWell, rates VillageReach its #1 charity for effectiveness, efficiency and transparency. For more information, visit www.givewell.org.

Brad Rutter will donate 50 percent 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 http://lancfound.org.

Ken Jennings

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

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.

IBM Watson
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 www.ibmwatson.com.

Jeopardy! Background

Jeopardy!, the winner of 28 Emmy Awards since its debut in 1984, was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most awards won by a TV Game Show. The series is the #1-rated quiz show in syndication with nearly 9 million daily viewers. 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.

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider, helping clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM's hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently, and securely. IBM's breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM's legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity, and service.

For more information, visit: www.ibm.com.

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