Inspiration

Cognitive Computing is a powerful technology which can help to solve everyday problems efficiently and intelligently. We wanted to make this technology accessible to everyone. Therefore, our team designed and developed TravelAgent Sam. We thought of the idea for this application while struggling to plan a trip. We decided to make an application which leveraged the power of Cognitive Computing services such as IBM's Alchemy API to help make decisions like these easier and more intelligent.

What it does

TravelAgent Sam is a virtual travel agent that converses with the user to gain preference insights and make intelligent travel suggestions using Cognitive Computing. Our application learns and gathers information about the user's preferences in order to provide travel recommendations and showcase beautiful destinations from around the world.

How we built it

TravelAgent Sam was built using a number of advanced web and cognitive technologies. At its core, our application leverages the Ruby on Rails framework to organize views, algorithms, and data into a simple and intuitive website. This part of our website is responsible for communicating with IBM's powerful cognitive computer in order to learn from the user and adapt to his or her preferences. Additionally, this backend is combined with a custom Bootstrap-based frontend which was inspired by Google's Material Design specifications. Google's specifications allowed us to design a clean and intuitive user interface using intelligent design metaphors. Together, these technologies work efficiently and elegantly to help the everyday user incorporate Cognitive Computing into their lives.

Challenges we ran into

We encountered difficulty developing an algorithm that would encompass the specificities of each unique location and its defining attributes. The world is a large place, and developing a database which circumscribes it was a large task given the time constraint of the hackathon.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We were able to successfully integrate Cognitive Computing in a friendly and accessible way. Talking to Sam feels natural and engaging to the user while providing intelligent travel insights.

What we learned

Our team gained invaluable exposure to the cutting-edge technologies in the field of Cognitive Computing and Machine Learning throughout this project. We are excited to use these new skills to bring intelligent computing closer to the average user.

What's next for TravelAgent Sam

TravelAgent Sam will hopefully join a larger family of projects surrounding Cognitive Computing and Machine Learning. We hope to develop a platform with which all users can integrate these new technologies into their everyday lives.

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