Google created a smart cookie -- but not the type that marketers that advertise through the Mountain View, California company's platforms would typically expect to see from the tech company.
These are edible cookies with a twist of Google artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Designing new recipes always takes a bit of science and a lot of creativity -- knowing what ingredients to throw into the mix. But in this case the research team used more knowledge about AI than about cooking.
During the past year, a few Googlers on the research team began experimenting with new technology for experimental design. The group wanted to demonstrate the technology, so it came up with a real-world challenge, which meant designing the best possible chocolate chip cookies, explains Daniel Golovin, senior staff software engineer on the Google Brain team.
It happens that the team works from Pittsburgh in an old Nabisco factory.
Stepping away from computers to roll up their sleeves in the kitchen to develop a cookie recipe, Googlers used a technique called Bayesian optimization for implementing hyperparameter tuning, described as a machine-learning concept used to architect a machine-learning model.
Ingredients such as flour, vanilla and baking soda provided variables to measure and make the recipe easy to replicate.
The group developed the first batch of cookies based on guesses. Sound familiar? They feed the first recipe back into the system, which learned from the ratings the Googlers gave, and adjusted it to create a new recipe.
It took repetition — in fact, dozens of times — and lots of testing to come up with a much better creation, according to Golovin.
But the crew didn't stop there. Chef John, Google's lead chef in the office teaching kitchen, took the recipe to Jeanette Harris, owner of the "vegan friendly" Gluten Free Goat Bakery & Café, to see what she could do.
Two months and 59 test batches later, the two came up with a new take on the classic chocolate chip cookie — The Chocolate Chip and Cardamom Cookie — made from love and a lot of AI.