IBM Supercomputer to Add “Chef” to Its CV

April 29, 2013 | Andy Cush

IBM supercomputers have already beaten Kasparov at chess and Ken Jennings at Jeopardy. Now, the company hopes to take on the Anthony Bourdains, Alton Browns, and Gordon Ramsays of the world with a machine that’s designed to assemble recipes like a gourmet chef (t won’t actually cook, unfortunately). As Co.Design points out, the vague, abstracted idea of what makes good cooking (food should taste good) is considerably more difficult for a logic-driven machine to wrap its brain around than the endgames of chess (get the king) and Jeopardy (come to the one true answer for a clue).

“We’ve been interested in pushing computing to a new direction, computational creativity,” said IBM’s Lav Varshney. “We’re trying to draw on data sets, not just to make inferences about the world, but to create new things you’ve never seen.”

It won’t be the first time computers have attempted creativity towards a certain goal–David Cope‘s music composition algorithms, which have written both original music and pieces that have fooled Mozart experts into believing they were by the legendary composer–spring to mind.

“You generate a million new ideas, but of course a million isn’t useful,” said Varshney. “You want to rank them by which will be perceived as flavorful and which are novel.”

(Photo: Brian J. Matis/Flickr)