Jeopardy playing computer

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.

Budget Deficits

Deficit1

Here’s how future US budget deficits are apportioned to various legislation and events from Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Remember, the budget for 2000 was in surplus; in 2009 the deficit was $1.4 trillion. It’s not the stimulus spending that dominates deficit spending.

12 16 09bud rev6 28 10 t11

In the meantime, employment is still terrible. If the employment rate stayed at the same rate as 1999 67.1% then there are four million fewer jobs then 10 years ago. That’s a lot of unhappy people.

Unemployment

Here’s is Calculated Risk’s version of the scariest chart. It shows the change in employment as a percent since the peak employment near the beginning of the recession; for this recession, that’s Dec 2007. Don’t forget that the years up to 2007 weren’t particularly good as there was no net gain of jobs in spite of increasing population.
Inflation is at 2.2% which is lower then usual.
The dotted line is employment with the census workers taken out.

Employment an Recessions May 20101