Computer Calculates April 11 1954 Most Boring Day In History

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It’s official: April 11 1954 was the most uneventful day in the whole of the twentieth century.

True Knowledge

Being knowledgeable is not just about regurgitating lots of facts. It is about applying that information in response to new situations.

Every day something of significance occurs: a person is born who is destined for fame; an event happens in the arts or sports, history is created. So after 300 million of these facts had been added to the ‘brain’ of True Knowledge, an intelligent computer system created by Cambridge technologists, it was asked a most difficult question: ‘What was the most boring day in the 20th century?’

Unlike a search engine, which finds relevant web pages statistically using key words, True Knowledge is able to reason. ‘Boring’ is a subjective term. A 14-year old has a very different idea of boring to a 45-year old. In this case it used ‘uneventful’ and found the day when nothing much happened.

Founder of True Knowledge William Tunstall-Pedoe explains that the company is building a learning engine that will be a powerful source of knowledge, being able to store and process ‘factoids’ bits of information about people, places, events, businesses and answer questions in an intelligent way.

“Being knowledgeable is not just about regurgitating lots of facts. It is about applying that information in response to new situations.” William explains. “What we are aiming for with True Knowledge is a means of storing information so that it is naturally updated as new facts are included. Along with the ability to access relevant answers to unique questions.”

Nearly 5 million people are using True Knowledge every month, asking their own questions and contributing factoids and context to improve the quality of search. Many of these facts include dates. The system has a unique understanding of the importance of the entities in the world which can be calculated as a number, such as events beginning and ending, births, deaths, wars, founding of businesses and the release of publications. So you can use True Knowledge to find out what happened on a particular day. For example, questions like these produce good results:

Who was born on the 3rd of May 1983?
Who died on January the 16th 2001?
What happened on April 3 2006?

William continues, “It occurred to us that we are able to objectively measure the importance of every day in history. Some days are highly eventful and on some days far less happens and we can also objectively estimate the importance of these events.”

“For fun we wrote the program and set it going. When the results came back the winner was April 11 1954 - a Sunday in the 1950's. Nobody significant died that day, no major events apparently occurred and although a typical day in the 20th century has many notable people being born, for some reason that day had only one who might make that claim: Abdullah Atalar - a Turkish academic.”

“The irony is though, that having done the calculation, the day is interesting for being exceptionally boring, unless that is you are Abdullah Atalar!”

Notes for editors follow.

For media information please contact:
Rachel Holdsworth/Rebecca Nesbit, PR Consultants, Holdsworth Associates Tel: 01954 202789

For company information please contact:
William Tunstall-Pedoe, CEO Tel: +(44) 1223 323382
True Knowledge Ltd, 66-68 Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 1LA, United Kingdom

About True Knowledge
True Knowledge is building the first internet-scale platform for answering the world’s questions.

Its goal is to power a new kind of search experience where users can access the world’s knowledge simply by asking for the information they need in a way that is completely natural to them; just as if they were talking to another human being.

Instead of a list of links that may or may not be relevant to the query, the user experience is an immediate, perfect response, giving them exactly the information they are after.

True Knowledge has a unique semantic technology that has been many years in development. It understands user questions, represents knowledge in a way that the system can understand and process and can combine existing knowledge to infer new facts and answer questions it has never seen before.

Powering the platform is also a database of facts: a unified representation of the world’s knowledge containing factual, common sense and lexical knowledge. We can already answer trillions of questions and as this knowledge base grows, we understand and answer more and more.

To learn more about True Knowledge

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Rebecca Nesbit

William Tunstall-Pedoe
True Knowledge
+(44) 1223 323382
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