Earlier this week, representatives of the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation had the opportunity to “taste” cutting edge innovation as part of a Chef Watson reception. The reception was held at Sutardja Dai Hall at the Engineering School, and organized by Dr. Jean Paul Jacob, an IBM veteran.

What exactly is Chef Watson you ask? Well, Chef Watson is a “cognitive cooking” system that helps cooks create and discover brand-new, unique, and original recipes. Utilizing a natural language processing system and flavor compound algorithms, Watson has the ability to analyze 9,000 of Bon Appetit Magazine recipes and help users pair the best flavors and best ingredients to create delicious meals.

At the reception, Jeff Wesler- Vice President and Lab Director at IBM Research-Almaden – spoke about IBM Watson’s abilities as a culinary chef and shared about its upcoming future projects. Participants also had the opportunity to watch Chef Watson sift through recipes as well as taste a quiche that was uniquely generated by Watson’s algorithmic processes. Needless to say, both the computer program’s abilities as well as its original quiche recipe thrilled the reception’s guests.

During the event, Jim Spohrer – director of the Global University Programs at IBM – recognized Berkeley-Haas faculty, Solomon Darwin for undertaking the first launch of the IBM Watson course. Professor Solomon Darwin and Donald Wroblewski provided updates on the four innovative business models that students are working on. Darwin emphasized the value of leveraging Open Innovation concepts, especially as students prepare for New York’s competition week.  Truly, the IBM Watson course has been an unprecedented experience for Berkeley-Haas and Berkeley Engineering students.

With the advent and success of Chef Watson and Watson in the classroom, we see how Watson’s stellar million-dollar performance on Jeopardy is far from its only ability. As IBM goes on to perfect its capabilities, Watson will surely continue to change entire industries – culinary now undoubtedly being one of them.

By Timothy C. Young