In a move to accelerate its development of next generation cognitive computing apps, IBM has acquired AlchemyAPI. Big Blue is betting its investment in the machine-learning systems maker will make Watson even smarter.
Watson made history as the first commercially available cognitive computing system. Delivered through the cloud, Watson works to analyze high volumes of data, understand complex questions asked in natural language, and offer evidence-based answers. Watson learns from previous interactions.
The AlchemyAPI buy will expand Watson’s ecosystem in a big way by opening the door to IBM's developer community to 40,000 developers who have built apps for the acquired platform. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"IBM continues to invest in Watson‘s core technology and cloud development platform, amplifying a robust Watson ecosystem where third-party organizations are creating new businesses and solutions powered by Watson," said Mike Rhodin, senior vice president of IBM Watson. “Our ability to draw upon both internal and external sources of innovation, from IBM Research to acquisitions like AlchemyAPI, remain central to our strategy of bringing Watson to new markets, industries and regions.”
Watson Gets Faster
AlchemyAPI was founded in 2005 and has made a name for itself with a deep-learning platform that paves the way for clients, partners, developers and other third parties to “build cognitive-infused applications with advanced data analysis capabilities” like entity and keyword extraction, sentiment analysis, taxonomy categorization, and Web page cleaning. This software platform processes billions of API calls every month across 36 countries and in eight different languages.
IBM plans to integrate AlchemyAPI’s deep-learning technology into the core Watson platform. The result: Watson will be able to identify hierarchies and understand relationships within large volume data sets even more quickly than it does today. Big Blue also expects the AlchemyAPI technology to better Watson’s ability to take in, train and learn the so-called long-tail of data domains -- including both general business and target industries -- while addressing the need to manage constantly evolving ontologies.
IBM sees the AlchemyAPI buy greatly expanding the number and types of scalable cognitive computing APIs available to its clients, developers, partners and other members of the Watson ecosystem. IBM is especially keen on language analysis APIs to address new types of text and visual recognition, along with the ability to automatically detect, label and extract important details from image data.
Democratizing Deep Learning
“We founded AlchemyAPI with the mission of democratizing deep learning artificial intelligence for real-time analysis of unstructured data and giving the world’s developers access to these capabilities to innovate,” said Elliot Turner, founder and CEO of AlchemyAPI. “As part of IBM’s Watson unit, we have an infinite opportunity to further that goal.”
IBM will deliver new Watson services and APIs through the Watson Zone on Bluemix, the company’s digital innovation platform that lets developers build, deploy and manage apps across any combination of public, private and hybrid cloud.
All told, IBM is investing $1 billion into its Watson business unit, with a focus on development and research, and bringing cloud-delivered cognitive applications and services to market. That $1 billion includes $100 million available for venture investments that support IBM’s ecosystem of startups and businesses building cognitive apps powered by Watson.
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