IBM Acquires AlchemyAPI to Enhance Watson

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2015-03-04 Print this article Print
IBM's Mike Rhodin

IBM announced it has acquired AlchemyAPI to bolster the cognitive computing power of its Watson system.

IBM has acquired AlchemyAPI, a provider of scalable cognitive computing API services and deep learning technology.

The acquisition, which IBM says will accelerate its development of next-generation cognitive computing applications, also will expand the Watson ecosystem. More than 40,000 developers have built applications on the AlchemyAPI platform to the IBM Watson developer community. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

IBM said it 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.

"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," Mike Rhodin, senior vice president of the IBM Watson Group, said in a statement. "Our ability to draw upon both internal and external sources of innovation, from IBM Research to acquisitions like AlchemyAPI, remains central to our strategy of bringing Watson to new markets, industries and regions."

IBM said its acquisition of AlchemyAPI also will 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.

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

Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Denver, AlchemyAPI's deep learning platform enables developers 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 languages: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.

IBM's Watson is one of the first commercially available cognitive computing capabilities 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 platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering 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 on

The news of IBM's acquisition of AlchemyAPI 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 13 in the past six months alone.



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