March 11, 2015 | Written by: Bruno Diegues
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In this era of constant change, quick decisions must be made all the time, for business purposes, academy uses or even in health situations. With that in mind, IBM brings to the Bluemix environment an innovative set of cognitive services from IBM Watson. These services work as REST application programming interfaces (APIs) for processing complex information in order to solve problems. The amazing thing about this is that these APIs have the ability to learn based on the information they get over the time. This is not about previously set responses to questions, but answers to what is known to be right based on the information collected at that time.
Platform as a service (PaaS) is used more and more in organizations from every industry. This is especially true in those companies with teams that focus on development, where valuable time is invested in prerequisites for developing, including infrastructure planning, deployment and configuration.
IBM’s Bluemix PaaS provides customers with a self-service application hosting environment, enabling existing applications to be quickly deployed. Bluemix’s web application archive means developers can invest time in the core business and not worry about deploying infrastructure and operational systems, or installing runtimes and frameworks.
In addition, it enables continuous development (DevOps) and provides an easy way of managing and scaling your environment up and down when required.
Bluemix is based on Cloud Foundry, an open source project for PaaS that provides a variety of frameworks and application services, regardless of the platform on which it will run. Cloud Foundry is supported by a broad community that collaborates with its development and maintenance.
To deploy an application in a Cloud Foundry-based environment, the developer has to specify the number of instances and memory that will be needed. The environment will add the necessary runtime and framework components to a specific container, which keeps the application isolated from other environments. This is done as if it were running in a separate virtual machine, using Warden, where users can control CPU, memory, disk and network.
Services integration is easy in a Cloud Foundry environment. Basically, the developer selects a service, a new instance is automatically created, and the new instance gets linked to the application. From there, the application can be coded to receive service credentials from an environment variable, saving developer time to install, configure and manage the service.
IBM Bluemix has additional features, such as auto-scaling, third-party services (single source for payments), and on-premises integration. It integrates with other clouds and with IBM DevOps services, allowing for an easier way of building, deploying, monitoring, and logging for development projects.
Blumix provides a list of Watson services, here are some examples:
• Concept expansion: With a text input, this service interprets the meaning based on similar usages, so it can help in analyzing unclear context by converting it to understandable words.
• Language identification: It detects the language of a written text and can be used as an input for other services such as voice to text or translation applications. Twenty-five languages are supported as of today.
• Machine translation: This one works as a regular translation tool, converting text to different languages. It is available in: English, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, French and Arabic.
• Message resonance: This service has the ability to analyze how well content will be received by a specific community based on the information this audience has written. For now, it works for active people in cloud computing discussions, but in the future the system will be able to be populated by any community data.
• Question and answer: It answers questions based on data provided to the system (such as guides, websites or manuals). It also provides the user with an associated confidence level and links for referencing any evidences.
• Relationship extraction: This service splits text into parts of speech (such as nouns, verbs and adjectives) and functions (such as subjects, predicates and objects) and shows the relationships between these components in order to provide a clearer view of individual sentences.
• Personality Insight: By analyzing the way a person communicates (messages, posts, tweets and more) this service can identify personality and social characteristics of individuals, so users can communicate with or connect to others on a more tailored level.
We can now clearly notice examples of analytics and big data services running on cloud environments. In the future, more services like these will become available to users globally. What do you think about cognitive services? Share your ideas below and follow me at @_BrunoDiegues!