From NY Times is this article Smarter Than You Think – I.B.M.’s Supercomputer Challenges ‘Jeopardy!’ Champions – NYTimes.com about how IBM has built a machine that does pretty well playing Jeopardy.

Neither, as it turned out. Both were beaten to the buzzer by the third combatant: Watson, a supercomputer.

For the last three years, I.B.M. scientists have been developing what they expect will be the world’s most advanced “question answering” machine, able to understand a question posed in everyday human elocution — “natural language,” as computer scientists call it — and respond with a precise, factual answer.