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The Secret Ingredient in Computational Creativity

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IBM researchers are researching creativity by considering the factors that go into cooking choices.

IBM researchers are trying to get the Watson supercomputer to yield creative results with regard to cooking, which is very subjective.

Credit: Technology Review

IBM computer scientists are using big data on the Watson supercomputer to produce cooking results that could be called creative.

"Creativity is the generation of a product that is judged to be novel and also to be appropriate, useful, or valuable by a suitably knowledgeable social group," say IBM's Lav Varshney and colleagues.

Because creativity is subjective, human assessments are necessary, and thus professional chefs have judged the computer's results and offered positive feedback. "A computational creativity system has no meaning in a closed universe devoid of people," the researchers note.

The team automated a plan for the creative process that involves finding a problem, gathering information, thinking about it, generating ideas, choosing the best ideas, and finally implementing those ideas. The process uses a collaborative model with humans performing some tasks, such as choosing the problem to create new recipes. The team also gathers information by downloading a huge variety of global recipes, as well as descriptions of regional cuisines. Using this data, the computer determines how to combine ingredients using a "novelty algorithm" that determines how unexpected the recipe will seem to an expert observer. Finally, the computer generates several novel recipes, and a human expert selects and prepares a dish.

From Technology Review
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