Toronto, ON (Mar. 8, 2015) – IBM has announced it has acquired AlchemyAPI, a leading provider of scalable cognitive computing application program interface (API) services and deep learning technology. The acquisition will accelerate IBM’s development of next-generation cognitive computing applications.
The acquisition also significantly expands the Watson ecosystem, welcoming 40,000 developers that have innovated on the AlchemyAPI platform to the IBM Watson developer community. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
IBM will integrate AlchemyAPI’s deep learning technology into the core Watson platform, augmenting Watson’s ability to quickly identify hierarchies and understand relationships within large volume data sets. The technology is expected to enhance Watson’s ability to ingest, train and learn the “long-tail” of various data domains – including general business and target industries, as well as address the need to manage constantly evolving ontologies.
In addition, the acquisition will greatly expand the number and types of scalable cognitive computing APIs available to IBM clients, developers, partners and other members of the Watson ecosystem. This includes language analysis APIs to address new types of text and visual recognition, and the ability to automatically detect, label and extract important details from image data.
Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Denver, AlchemyAPI’s deep learning platform enables clients, partners, developers and other third-parties to build cognitive-infused applications with advanced data analysis capabilities such as taxonomy categorization, entity and keyword extraction, sentiment analysis and web page cleaning. The company’s software platform processes billions of API calls per month across 36 countries and in eight different languages: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.
“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. “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.”
“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.”
Watson is the first commercially available cognitive computing capability representing a new era in computing. The system, delivered through the cloud, analyzes high volumes of data, understands complex questions posed in natural language, and proposes evidence-based answers. Watson continuously learns, gaining in value and knowledge over time, from previous interactions.
IBM is delivering new Watson services and APIs through the Watson Zone on Bluemix, the company’s digital innovation platform that enables developers to rapidly build, deploy and manage apps across any combination of public, private and hybrid cloud. Thousands of developers, entrepreneurs, data hobbyists, students and others have already built more than 7,000 apps powered by Watson to date.
AlchemyAPI’s capabilities, including new language analysis and visual recognition services, will be delivered through Bluemix, and enable developers to quickly build a range of business applications. New and existing users can sign up for a free trial and access the AlchemyAPI services today at www.bluemix.net.
Today’s news builds on the recent announcement of IBM Watson Personality Insights API and the launch of five new beta Watson Services, bringing the total number of cognitive API services to thirteen in the past six months alone.
IBM Watson: Pioneering a New Era of Computing
IBM Watson enhances, scales and accelerates human expertise, and represents a new era of computing in which apps and systems interact with human users more naturally, augment knowledge with Big Data insights, and learn and improve over time.
Fueled by innovation and a mission to transform industries and professions, IBM is delivering a range of cloud-based products and services to clients in industries such as banking, healthcare, insurance, retail and education.
In January 2014, IBM launched the IBM Watson unit, a business dedicated to developing and commercializing cloud-delivered cognitive computing technologies. The move signified a strategic shift by IBM to deliver a new class of software, services and apps that think, improve by learning, and discover insights from massive amounts of Big Data. IBM is investing $1 billion into the Watson unit, focusing on development and research, and bringing cloud-delivered cognitive applications and services to market. This includes $100 million available for venture investments that support IBM’s ecosystem of start-ups and businesses building cognitive apps powered by Watson.
AlchemyAPI’s mission is to power a new generation of smart applications that understand human language and vision by democratizing breakthroughs in deep learning-based artificial intelligence. Its easy-to-use, high-performance cloud services for real-time text analysis and computer vision give companies the intelligence needed to transform vast amounts of unstructured data into actions that drive their business. AlchemyAPI’s solutions have been used by more than 40,000 developers across 36 countries and a wide variety of industries to process billions of texts and images every month. For more information, visit the website at www.alchemyapi.com.
About IBM Watson
In the three years since its triumph on the television quiz show Jeopardy!, IBM has advanced Watson from a game playing innovation into a commercial technology. Now delivered from the cloud and able to power new consumer and enterprise services and apps, Watson is 24 times faster, smarter with a 2,400 percent improvement in performance, and 90 percent smaller – IBM has shrunk Watson from the size of a master bedroom to three stacked pizza boxes.
Named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, IBM Watson was developed in IBM’s Research labs. Using natural language processing and analytics, Watson processes information akin to how people think, representing a major shift in an organization’s ability to quickly analyze, understand and respond to Big Data. Watson’s ability to answer complex questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence is transforming decision making across a variety of industries.
Watson is a cognitive technology that processes information more like a human than a computer—by understanding natural language, generating hypotheses based on evidence, and learning as it goes. And learn it does. Watson “gets smarter” in three ways: by being taught by its users, by learning from prior interactions, and by being presented with new information. This means organizations can more fully understand and use the data that surrounds them, and use that data to make better decisions.
IBM Watson has come a long way from its Jeopardy! roots, establishing itself at the forefront of a new era – the third era – of computing that is transforming business and society. Today, hundreds of clients and partners across six continents, 25 countries, and 12 industries have projects underway with Watson. Watson is revolutionizing how medicine is taught, researched, practiced, and paid for; is transforming how businesses interact and engage with customers; and accelerating scientific research and discovery.
For more information on IBM Watson, visit www.ibmwatson.com.
IBM (NYSE: IBM) is one of the largest technology, services and consulting organizations. We help clients of all sizes and in all industries transform their operations through the use of technology, infusing intelligence into the systems that run our businesses, our society and the world. Visit www.ibm.ca.