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March 4, 2015

AlchemyAPI to make deep learning elementary for IBM Watson

New IBM acquisition will provide new ontological and image-based APIs.

By Alexander Sword

IBM has acquired AlchemyAPI, a provider of scalable cognitive computing application programme interfaces (APIs) and deep learning technology.

IBM will incorporate AlchemyAPI’s deep learning technology into its core Watson platform, which will augment its ability to identify hierarchies and relationships within large data sets.

The technology should enhance Watson’s ability to ingest, train and learn long-tails of various data domains and manage evolving ontologies.

The acquisition will also give IBM clients, developers and partners access to a large number of scalable cognitive computing APIs. This will include APIs that can address new types of text and visual recognition and automatically detect, label and extract information from images.

AlchemyAPI’s language analysis and visual recognition services will be delivered through the Watson Zone on Bluemix.

"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, IBM Watson.

He added: "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."

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"Today is the start of a new journey for AlchemyAPI, our customers and our user community, as we join IBM, the leader in cognitive computing," said Elliot Turner, founder and CEO, AlchemyAPI. "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.

"As part of IBM’s Watson unit, we have an infinite opportunity to further that goal."

Andrew Davies, co-founder at Idio, commented: "This is certainly an acquisition of AlchemyAPI’s vibrant community as it’s likely that IBM Watson has been struggling to generate their own organic community of developers. AlchemyAPI has a solid community of around 40,000 developers on their platform currently.

Davies added: "Where the struggle will now be is how IBM plans to retain that community, as their pricing for Watson is quite complicated. This acquisition goes someway to demonstrate the ongoing growth of the machine learning and analytics industry.

"It’s becoming more and more important that companies and brands, in particular, are not just understanding big pieces of data but are actually doing something with it that is useful to their customer.


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