IBM 'supercomputer' debuts in food truck at SXSW

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by KRIS BETTS / KVUE News and photojournalist PETER HULL

khou.com

Posted on March 9, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Updated Sunday, Mar 9 at 1:17 PM

AUSTIN, Texas -- You may not be able to, but a computer can. It's called Watson, it was development by IBM and it's being used in a food truck debuting in Austin during SXSW.

You've seen it beat contestants on "Jeopardy" now IBM's supercomputer is beating the world's greatest chefs in the kitchen.

"This is an experiment where we're going to take and go beyond what we did with the Watson computer that beat Jeopardy,” said Steven Abrams, IBM’s engineer and director.

Tucked between other food trucks in Downtown Austin for SXSW the sign next to IBM's truck reads “Welcome to cognitive cooking" and that is what it is.

"Some people say that creativity is the crowning achievement of human intelligence, so the question here is can computers help people to be more creative,” said Abrams.

How exactly? Well it's simple for a supercomputer.
"Essentially trained it by giving it a giant cookbook. Something like 30-35,000 recipes,” said Abrams

Now Watson the Jeopardy champion is Watson the recipe master.

Here's how it works: you pick a key ingredient and cuisine, what you want to include and then Watson creates millions of recipes.

You can even customize the recipe for dietary needs.

"You can give it constraints like out the sugar, for example,” Abrams told KVUE.

The IBM food truck will be in Austin at 4th Street and Red River every day through Tuesday.

The chefs cook food based on what people ask for on Twitter.

To chime in just tweet #IBMFoodTruck.

All the samples are free.

Follow @KVUESXSW on Twitter for event information and live updates from our crews at the festival. Go here for more of KVUE's SXSW coverage.


 

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