IBM Watson cooks up a storm with cognitive computing

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IBM Watson unleashed its computing powers on the taste buds of Canadians, taking up a challenge to invent a better poutine.

Highlighting the potential of cognitive computing, IBM Watson is a system capable of learning, a feature which IBM hopes will enable humans and computers to partner in order to enhance and scale human expertise.

Watson processes information more like a human than a computer — by understanding natural language, generating hypotheses based on evidence, and learning as it goes. It processes vast amounts of data in many different forms, and learns from each interaction.

In this instance, IBM Watson was deployed to help chefs design novel recipes that feature unusual ingredient combinations.

"Cognitive cooking is a lot of fun but it’s about much more than finding surprising and delicious new poutine recipes," said Robin Grosset, distinguished engineer, Watson Analytics.

"This is really about demonstrating the power of Watson cognitive computing to solve some of the world’s most complex problems and come up with new creative ideas that have never been thought of before. It’s about demonstrating what’s possible with one of the most important developments in IBM’s 104-year history."

Dubbed Chef Watson, IBM aims to demonstrate that cognitive systems can understand and reason about the big data behind cuisine – recipes, chemistry and food pairing theories – to help people drive new creations and combinations of ingredients.

Chef Watson analysed quintillions of ingredient combinations and regional flavour preferences and successfully created five unique poutine recipes. Canadians have been invited to vote on which is the best recipe.

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