Big Data

IBM Watson gets a big data boost with open source CognizeR extension

IBM Watson and Columbus Collaboratory recently partnered on CognizeR, an open-source R extension that lets data scientists using R more easily use Watson tools.

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Image: iStockphoto/seewhatmitchsee

Data scientists using the programming language R will soon find it much easier to leverage the tools and services offered by IBM Watson. On Thursday, IBM Watson and Columbus Collaboratory partnered on the release of CognizeR, an open-source R extension that makes it easier to use Watson from a native development environment.

Typically, Watson services like Watson Language and Translation of Visual Recognition are leveraged via API calls that have to be coded in Java or Python. Now, using the CognizeR extension, data scientists can tap into Watson directly from their R environment.

"CognizeR offers easier access to a variety of Watson's artificial intelligence services that can enhance the performance of predictive models developed in R, an open-source language widely used by data scientists for statistical and analytics applications," a press release said.

Watson, of course, is IBM's cognitive computing arm, and Columbus Collaboratory is a team of companies that work together on analytics and cybersecurity solutions. According to the press release, a big reason for the development of CognizeR was to help with the adoption of cognitive computing in the founding companies of Columbus Collaboratory, which include Battelle, CardinalHealth, Nationwide, American Electric Power, OhioHealth, Huntington, and Lbrands.

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In the press release announcing the extension, IBM cited IDC figures that said that less than 1% of all data, especially unstructured data like chats, emails, social media, and images, is properly analyzed. The team is hoping that CognizeR can help improve predictive models and analyze more data.

Currently, data scientists will be able to use Watson Language Translation, Personality Insights, Tone Analyzer, Speech to Text, Text to Speech, and Visual Recognition through the CognizeR. However, more services will be offered based on responses.

"As we collect feedback, we'll be able to continually improve the experience by adding the cognitive services that data scientists want and need the most," said Shivakumar Vaithyanathan, IBM Fellow and Director, Watson Content Services.

R is one of the most widely used languages in statististics and big data today. By making Watson more readily available to data scientists using the languages, IBM is position Watson more strongly among its enterprise audience.

CognizeR can be downloaded on GitHub.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. IBM Watson and Columbus Collaboratory released CognizeR, an open-source R extension that makes it easier to use IBM Watson in an R environment.
  2. Only a select number of Watson services are available through the extension now, but more will soon be made available based on user feedback.
  3. By deeply integrating with R, IBM is positioning Watson as a more usable enterprise tool for big data and statistics applications.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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