IBM has snapped up artificial intelligence (AI) start-up AlchemyAPI as it looks to beef up the technology in its Watson supercomputer unit.
US-based Alchemy was founded in 2005 and used its "deep-learning" platform to enable its partners and customers to make use of advanced data analytics. The firm's technology is used in 36 countries and is available in eight different languages.
The firm and its 40,000 developers will integrate into IBM's Watson division, which uses AI to analyse large sets of data. Watson has won US game show Jeopardy and has produced its own brand of BBQ sauce.
Last January, IBM launched Watson as a business unit and then in September granted the channel access to the technology for the first time.
"IBM is investing $1bn (£653m) into the Watson unit, focusing on development and research, and bringing cloud-delivered cognitive applications and services to market," IBM said. "This includes $100m available for venture investments that support IBM's ecosystem of start-ups and businesses building cognitive apps powered by Watson."
The Alchemy technology will 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 said.
IBM Watson's senior vice president Mike Rhodin said: "IBM continues to invest in Watson's core technology and cloud development platform, amplifying a robust Watson ecosystem where third-party organisations are creating new businesses and solutions powered by Watson.
"Our ability to draw on both internal and external sources of innovation, from IBM Research to acquisitions such as AlchemyAPI, remain central to our strategy of bringing Watson to new markets, industries and regions."
Elliot Turner, founder and CEO of AlchemyAPI, said: "We founded AlchemyAPI with the mission of democratising deep-learning artificial intelligence for real-time analysis of unstructured data and giving the world's developers access to these capabilities to innovate."
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