Computing Flavor

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Does a computer have the capacity to develop the refined taste, sensibility, and – most importantly – creativity of the world’s best chefs? Researchers at IBM think so. They’ve created a computer program – the Flavorbot – that cross-references huge databases of existing recipes; measurements of flavor at the molecular level; and connections between existing foods and flavors, to result in the most creative and unexpectedly good-tasting creations. One creation is an Italian grilled lobster, with surprising components of saffron, green olives, tomato, pumpkin, mint, oregano, orange juice, and bacon.