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Jason Pontin

A View from Jason Pontin

D3: Geek Mastermind

UPDATE: 5.05 PM. The questions got harder–and as if he were the product of secretive experiment in genetic engineering, Mitch Kapor pulled into a convincing lead. The other geeks–even billg–fell uncomfortably silent as Mitch entered into an eerie trance. “What…

  • May 23, 2005

UPDATE: 5.05 PM. The questions got harder–and as if he were the product of secretive experiment in genetic engineering, Mitch Kapor pulled into a convincing lead. The other geeks–even billg–fell uncomfortably silent as Mitch entered into an eerie trance. “What was the–” Walt would try and ask; and Mitch would answer calmly, “Oh that was the first IBM microprocessor, which had an extremely elegant engineering solution to the von Heltzman paradox.” Etc. Etc.

I am not making this up, I promise. Right now Walt Mossberg is running a kind of Mastermind, or Jeopardy, for geeks. The contestants include Bill Gates, Eric Schimdt, Ester Dyson, Mitch Kapor, Rob Glaser, and a newly svelte Stewart Alsop. But here’s the thing: even though the questions are stunningly hard, no one gets any of them wrong. They’re too smart. There’s some question right now about heuristic algorithms. Billg is pretending to think hard, but you can tell he knows the answer really.

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