Last summer I wrote about a computational analysis of culinary evolution where the mutations of the ingredients of recipes was investigated and modelled. We can speed up the evolution by stirring in some more AI to help you find and adapt recipes based on the ingredients you happen to have. To get to the point, and in the words of the contest organizers, David Aha and Amélie Cordier:
Once upon a time, we wondered whether some software system could help us to make a yummy meal from the contents of our fridge. Given a restricted set of ingredients, the task is to cook something “that tastes good”. More recently, we wondered whether a system could help us to explain our research interests to a broader audience. Given the technological state-of-the-art, the task is to create a problem-solving system. Glue the two together and you get: The Computer Cooking Contest!
There is no restriction on the technology, but the contestants have to start with the basic recipe database, which is available for download from the Computer Cooking Contest website, and it seems that it has to have a web interface. There are four categories in the contest, each with a prize. The “main” one concerns recipe selection and possible modification, the “adaptation” one has to solve specific adaptations of a recipe, the “open” one is, well, open, and scientific originality is the only criterion, and there is a “student” challenge slimmed to solving a chosen subtask. Examples and suggestions are given in the rules & categories page of the CFC. Deadline is 14 April.
Last year’s winner was CookIIS, which is a “recipe creator” using case-based reasoning: you can fill in the ingredients you happen to have, ones that should be excluded, and an additional constraint (such as vegetarian or low-cholesterol), and out comes a list of recipes satisfying the constraints. My “potato, cabbage, beans, cheese”, excluding “olive, banana” and vegetarian had as best suggestion Banda Kopir Tarkari, Chili bean dip, and Dilly Potato Salad (and another 545). After that, I could not play with the recipes; there is an “Adaptation” note at the end of the recipe to change ingredients, but it would be nice if, for instance, I just could click an ingredient (that I did not have and had not specified I did not have…) and see what I could swap it for, or maybe hook up my cupboard and fridge to the computer so the software knows which ingredients I have to begin with.
Either way, CookIIS definitely beats the wine and pizza ontologies in presentability… but then, maybe some of the Semantic Web technologies are just as suitable to excel in any of the four computer cooking challenges.