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Watson and Ken Jennings.

While it initially looked like a rout, the humans clawed their way back during the first round of Jeopardy! and forced IBM’s supercomputer to tie for the lead.

The first segment of the long-anticipated two-game Jeorpardy tournament between former Jeopardy! champions, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, and Watson aired on Feb. 14. Watson and Rutter both had $5,000 on the board and Jennings trailed behind with $2,000.

“I had a good feeling at the end of the first show,” said IBM’s David Ferrucci, the lead researcher and principal investigator on the Watson project in a post-game analysis posted on the company’s A Smarter Planet blog. “I thought: Everybody will realize the computer is competitive,” he said.

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