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Recently, many in cognitive science and machine learning circles are very interested in the 'The Allen AI Science Challenge' that was recently announced. Here is a brief description:

The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) is working to improve humanity through fundamental advances in artificial intelligence. One critical but challenging problem in AI is to demonstrate the ability to consistently understand and correctly answer general questions about the world.

The Aristo project at AI2 is focused on building such a system. One way Aristo "learns" is by extracting facts from various sources and processing them into a structured knowledge base. When taking an exam, questions are parsed and processed along with any accompanying diagrams to determine a strategy for answering. Aristo then uses entailment, statistical analysis, and inference methods to select a final answer.

While Aristo's abilities have improved significantly in the last two years, it still doesn't have perfect, reliable methods of gathering knowledge, understanding questions, or reasoning through answers.

Using a dataset of multiple choice question and answers from a standardized 8th grade science exam, AI2 is challenging you to create a model that gets to the head of the class.

What problem solving and reasoning skills do you feel a computer will need to get past a 8th grade MCQ standardized science test?

What are, or what do you think are the obstacles present in present in training computers to master these cognitive abilities?

And to throw in a subjective question, do you think that someone will be able match this task given the present state of Artificial Intelligence?

[Note that most Jeopardy! questions asked to IBM Watson were wikipedia searchable entries]

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