An IBM supercomputer named Watson has made headlines for the past month for its ability to defeat the most successful human champions from classic game show "Jeopardy"--but it looks like one New Jersey congressman, Rush Holt, got the better of Watson in a round of the game in Washington, D.C., last night.
"I played a full round against @IBMWatson tonight and was proud to hold my own: the final tally was Holt $8,600, Watson $6,200," tweeted the Democratic Congressman, who has represented New Jersey's 12th district, a section of the middle of the state just north of capital city Trenton, since 1999. Though the match was not televised, there was at least one witness: Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes, who tweeted at the time, "I seriously CANNOT believe that @rushholt beat @ibmwatson.
To be fair, Holt boasts all sorts of credentials that, while none of it speaks directly to his ability to be a successful elected official, indicates that he's a huge nerd who would be very good at trivia games.
He's a nuclear physicist, something that his supporters proudly tout on bumper stickers that read "My Congressman is a rocket scientist." Holt also owns a patent for a "method for maintaining a correct density gradient in a non-convecting solar pond," has authored papers in a number of scientific research journals, and as the local press has pointed out, is a five-time "Jeopardy" champion.
(Disclosure: I lived in NJ-12 as a kid and am proud that a notable resident of my home state has made headlines for doing something that has nothing to do with political corruption, mobster hit jobs, or a gym-tan-laundry routine.)