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Open source R extension simplifies data science with IBM Watson

With the release of CognizeR, an open source extension for the statistical computing-focused R programming language, Columbus Collaboratory is aiming to simplify data science with IBM Watson.

"Our goal was to connect data scientists everywhere with cognitive computing in a software environment they already know and love: R," Ty Henkaline, chief analytics innovator at Columbus Collaboratory, said in a statement yesterday. "CognizeR now shortens the journey toward building real cognitive solutions by providing quick and easy access to Watson services. Releasing this code to the open source community advances our mission of delivering accelerated business value to our member companies and beyond."

Columbus, Ohio.-based Columbus Collaboratory is a specialist in advanced analytics and cybersecurity. It says the release of CognizeR will help to advance adoption of cognitive computing within its founding companies and the data scientist community worldwide. Columbus Collaboratory founding companies include: American Electric Power, Battelle, Cardinal Health, Huntington, Lbrands, Nationwide and Ohio Health. The company's mission is to work collaboratively on complex challenges common to its member companies and develop solutions that enhance operational efficiencies and competitiveness. It also focuses on expanding and upskilling segments of the ColumbusIT workforce.

[ Related: IBM looks to let Watson Health 'see' ]

"The release of CognizeR — and our business model as a whole — demonstrates the tremendous benefits that can be achieved through cross-company collaboration and innovation," Matt Wald, president and CEO of Columbus Collaboratory, said yesterday. "The unique partnership with our diverse set of member companies has enabled us to quickly discover the tremendous value cognitive computing can generate across industries. We are eager to get these services in the hands of the broader data science community."

Get it on GitHub

Available through Columbus Collaboratory's GitHub repository, CognizeR will help data scientists access a host of IBM Watson services without leaving their native development environment. By leveraging Watson APIs, data scientists will be able to access services including Watson Language Translation, Personality Insights, Tone Analyzer, Speech to Text, Text to Speech and Visual Recognition. Watson can help data scientists unlock insights from unstructured data including chats, emails, social media, images and documents.

[ Related: IBM launches cognitive computing consulting practice ]

For its part, IBM says that as data scientists begin to build with Watson, it will collect their feedback to help inform additional cognitive services that will be made available.

"By teaming up with Columbus Collaboratory, we are continuing our commitment to helping more people build and innovate with IBM's cognitive offerings," Shivakumar Vaithyanathan, IBM Fellow and director, Watson Content Services, said in a statement Thursday. "CognizeR enables data scientists to seamlessly tap into Watson's self-service AI, offering them an efficient and simple path to create cognitive solutions within their own, native development environment. 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."

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