Watson app whips up big data on food

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watson computer afp AFP With Watson, IBM has set out to let people interact with computers in ways as natural as chatting with a brilliant friend. Picture: IBM

Washington -

Putting a chef's hat on its Watson supercomputer, IBM and the magazine Bon Appetit unveiled a new initiative on Monday that seeks to use Big Data for gastronomy.

A new app unveiled in test version called “Chef Watson with Bon Appetit” aims at helping cooks “draw on Watson's advanced cognitive capabilities to create entirely new recipes and gastronomic combinations that have previously never been conceived”, IBM said.

The kitchen becomes the new proving ground for Watson, which has been working on fighting cancer and other medical applications, after a successful challenge on the TV game show Jeopardy.

The new app is the part of the Chef Watson program introduced this year by IBM and the Institute of Culinary Education.

Mike Rhodin, senior vice president at IBM Watson Group said the goal “is to help people discover the potential of cognitive computing systems”.

“These systems can understand vast amounts of data, compounds, and formulas as well as learn from interactions with people and information, in a far more intuitive way,” Rhodin said in a statement.

Bon Appetit, which tested some recipes using Chef Watson, offered a few examples of the recipes cooked up with the help of the supercomputer.

These include cabbage-tamarind cole slaw with fried onions, fennel-spiced ribs with apple-mustard barbeque sauce and grilled corn and nectarine salad with chile powder, coriander, basil and cumin.

For dessert, Watson offered up a berry cobbler with lemon zest, sour cream, buttermilk and the unusual addition of marjoram, which according to the magazine was among the favourites of testers.

“At Bon Appetit, we were curious to see what Watson could discover that was never previously considered, helping unlock a chef's creativity,” said editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport.

“We see the intersection of technology and food sparking new thinking and creativity not only in our own test kitchen, but in our reader's homes as well.” - Sapa-AFP


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