ibm_logoCognitive cooking may be a new term for many people reading this article. It certainly was a new and inspiring idea for us at Kitchen Theory which prompted us to to dig a little deeper to find out more..

The concept was developed by IBM as part of their cognitive computing technology. Cognitive computing systems learn and interact naturally with people to extend what either humans or machine could do on their own. They help human experts make better decisions by penetrating the complexity of Big Data. These systems get smarter and more customized through interactions with data, devices and people. They may even help us take on what may have been seen as unsolvable problems by using all the information that surrounds us and bringing the right insight or suggestion to our fingertips right when it’s most needed.

The technology has been used in a variety of areas including health care. Now IBM has given this technology a far different task; demonstrating a degree of creativity! They have chosen the culinary arts as they are a great way of showcasing creativity.

A master chef can think of just a hand full of combinations of ingredients at one time. Watson, the same IBM supercomputer that won Jeopardy in 2011, can crunch through a quintillion. That’s a one and 18 zeroes, as the IBM researchers like to say. But does that make their computer a good cook?

For about two years, IBM’s cognitive computing group has been working to apply Watson’s vast processing ability to food. The system analyzed about 35,000 existing recipes and about 1,000 chemical flavor compounds, which allows it to make educated guesses about which ingredient combinations will delight and, just as importantly, surprise. From there, it tries to encourage unconventional combinations — like chocolate, coffee, and garlic — in order to produce dishes that have never been made before.


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