Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771


Monday, May 22, 2006 / 3:30 PM, Building 3 Auditorium

Robin Burgener

"20Q: the Neural Network Mind Reader"

ABSTRACT -- What is 20Q? 20Q is an AI, a website, a company and a phenomenon. Start with the classic word game Twenty Questions, add an artificial intelligence, a unique algorithm and a website, and you've got an update of an old parlor-game classic with 21st Century applications and an incredibly successful electronic game. While residing and learning at 20Q.net for the past ten years, the 20Q AI has evolved from an experiment in artificial intelligence into an intelligent software tool that is adaptable, scalable, modular and embeddable. The algorithms behind the 20Q AI can be adapted to fit any platform, requiring only the simplest operations. It is uniquely suited to low-bandwidth and small screen devices and can be scaled and adapted to run on very low-end processors or super-computers. From 20Q's modest beginnings as a floppy disk that was swapped amongst friends to help it learn, the 20Q site now boasts 10,000,000 synaptic connections, and played its 35,000,000th game in November, 2006. The 20Q neural-net has experienced an 800 percent growth per year over the past three years, generating 512 times the traffic of three years ago.

The inventor, Robin Burgener will discuss the rapid evolution of the 20Q AI, the science behind it, how it learns (and knows more objects than most people do), how it deals with fuzzy data and ambiguities, and the applications for 20Q that have been developed, as well as those yet to evolve.

At the end of the talk, Mr. Burgener will happily answer twenty questions (or more), and will likely ask a few of his own.

SPEAKER -- Robin Burgener, Chief Thinkologist, 20Q.net Inc.

Robin Burgener has over twenty years' experience in the computer industry as a software programmer and architect. Prior to the launch of 20Q.net Inc., he created the hardware detection and configuration system for Corel Corporation's Linux effort. At QNX Software Systems Ltd. he created, and is named on the U.S. patent for, Photon, the world's first modular, micro-kernel based windowing system. He is the inventor and author of the key software components of the 20Q AI knowledge base and game engine, including the artificial intelligence, the database manager and Web server (WebOddity). Drawing on his hardware and embedded computing experience, he works closely with 20Q's partners to tailor the game and AI core for uses beyond the Web.

Outside of computers and other tech gadgetry, his main interest is in finding new ways to relate other interests to computers and tech gadgetry. He's pleased to note (or likes to brag) that 20Q now operates one of the top 500 supercomputers in the world.