Computer science professor Jordan Boyd-Graber is currently working on a National Science Foundation grant for "Bayesian Thinking on Your Feet: Embedding Generative Models in Reinforcement Learning for Sequentially Revealed Data." At first glance, this might not sound like fun, but in the paper, Besting the Quiz Master, Boyd-Graber showed how machine learning could be used to create a quiz bowl version of the Terminator that can take all human comers. This weekend, that proposed machine finally played a nervewracking 200-200 tie game against a team of four Jeopardy! champions (Kristin Sausville of single contestant Final Jeopardy fame, teacher tournament winner Colby Burnett, professional poker player Alex Jacob, and underdog Tournament of Champions winner Ben Ingram).
Inside the biggest scandal in quiz bowl history. Probably attracting more media attention than quiz bowl has ever received, it was recently revealed that a Harvard player accessed questions prior to several recent national tournaments, leading NAQT to strip Harvard A of multiple national championships. Coverage has been extensive, ranging from Bloomberg to The Telegraph.
College Bowl was an American tradition for more than 50 years: two teams of four players each, who are read a toss-up question which anyone could answer alternating with a bonus question which only the team which got the toss-up question could answer. It was officially cancelled in 2008, due to a variety of factors. A strange new format dominates its successors: pyramidal quiz bowl. [more inside]