What’s Cooking With IBM Watson?
IBM Watson has been in the news in recent times, exploring new treatment for cancer, and at the same time cooking up new dishes using cognitive computing systems. It is now suggesting new combinations of ingredients that can be used for cooking new recipes. The company has said it does so by analyzing the chemical compounds in each ingredient. To take its culinary initiative one step forward, IBM has joined Bon Appétit magazine to create a Web application called Chef Watson, (which is now in beta).
The site offers a list of ingredients that can be used to create recipes. The site mentions that it is also working on a cookbook of the best Watson-based creations that will be submitted by the users.
Recently, IBM upgraded its Watson Discovery Advisor data analysis service that can examine a body of data and identify trends, correlations and other points of interest for researchers. In other words, it can help researchers in any field find new connections within vast realms of data.
Mike Rhodin, IBM senior vice president in the Watson Group, said at the launch of Watson Discovery Advisor that Watson on the culinary world will help people understand what these new types of technologies are capable of doing. “Much the same way Jeopardy helped people understand that cognitive systems could understand questions using natural language, Chef Watson helps us understand how these new systems can be used in our everyday lives,” he said.
In February, IBM set up a food truck to show off some Watson-inspired recipes. Researchers are seeing that Watson’s focus to the culinary arts is proving to be successful, especially when it comes to understanding what ingredients and compounds work well together, and it then looks for new patterns.
According to reports, IBM Research first developed Watson to compete with human contestants on a game show some three years ago, using natural language processing and analytics. The company had been working to commercialize the Watson technology, identifying industries that could benefit from cognitive computing, such as healthcare, law enforcement and finance. To help researchers better understand the culinary arts, IBM paired with the Institute of Culinary Education in New York.
Watson-inspired dishes are not only unique owing to different chemical combination of herbs and aromatic flavors, but can span different cultures and regions. According to the researchers, just the same way it is helping in cancer research, Watson is proving to be quite the time-saver, suggesting approaches that would take humans too much work to arrive at otherwise.
With the aid of natural language processing, it has analyzed the 9,000-odd recipes in the Bon Appétit database—what ingredients appear most often, in which combinations, and under what categories—to understand and reproduce their underlying logic and style. Besides, Chef Watson relies on the science of complementary flavor compounds to create new recipes.
Watson coders and designers are now coming up with more upgrades, including an user-friendly interface. “Organizing Chef Watson’s recipe ideas has become streamlined: Now you choose what’s more important to you, classic-ness or uniqueness. If you prefer the former, Watson will give you more common ingredient pairings. If you’d rather go for uniqueness, the ingredient combinations will be rarer ones, but should work because they’re both derived from the Bon Appétit database and go together on a fundamental chemical level,” the site mentions.
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