What's the most obvious way to try doing Jeopardy? What about just using a plain old search engine? And just feeding Jeopardy clues into it, and seeing what documents get matched. After taking a random sampling of 200,000 "Jeopardy" clues, Stephen Wolfram fed it as input (without quotes) to a search engine, he counted:
- How frequently the correct "Jeopardy" answer appeared somewhere in the title or text snippets.
- How frequently it appeared as the top document returned by the search engine.
The results? Google scored highest in both having the answer show up anywhere on the first page of search results and having it show up in the first result on page one.
Ask.com was a close second in getting the correct answer anywhere on page one, while Bing was a close second in getting the correct answer in the first search result. Blekko and Wikipedia remained in fifth and sixth place respectively.
"In terms of 'Jeopardy,' what we see is that just using a plain old search engine gets surprisingly far," Wolfram wrote. "Of course, the approach here isn't really solving the complete 'Jeopardy' problem: it's only giving pages on which the answer should appear, not giving specific actual answers." Wolfram also noted that the top search engines succeeded about 20% of the time.
But Ken Jennings, Jeopardy's all-time champion in wins and earnings, answered about 79% of his questions correctly -- a lot more than any search engine. Which suggests two things: Either he's an immediate acquisition candidate in Mountain View and Redmond, or he should just start his own search engine and answer queries as they come in.
[tags]blekko,search results,yandex,jeopardy,ken jennings[/tags]