2nd Computer Cooking Contest

CCC 2009 @ ICCBR 2009

July 21, 2009, Seattle, Washington, USA

Who says that only human beings are able to cook delicious meals? We aim to teach our computers the haute cuisine and therefore we need your creativity and ideas! Come to the International Conference on Case-Based Reasoning (ICCBR'09) in Seattle and participate in the Computer Cooking Contest (CCC)! Write your own software application for the live competition. Show that your program is more creative than the average kitchen user. Let your computer's recipe creations be evaluated by a professional cook and an international jury of scientists!


Once upon a time in the past, when we still were students, we wondered whether there could be a software which would relieve us from the task of matching the content of our fridge to a dish. Given a restricted set of ingredients, the task is to cook something, where something does taste good. Ideally, something moreish.
Once upon a time in the present, when we were not students anymore, we wondered whether there could be a software which would relieve us from the task of explaining what we are doing, e.g. case-based reasoning, to a broader audience. Given the technological state of the art, the task is to demonstrate something, where something solves a problem. Ideally, something moreish.

Glue the two together and you get it: The Computer Cooking Contest!

It will attract new people, e.g. students, to deal with AI technologies such as case-based reasoning, semantic technologies, search and information extraction. Also cooking is fun, in particular when using a computer for the design of the menu. Furthermore, the contest will attract the public. Since everybody knows something about cooking, people will be curious what a computer might do about it. Furthermore, we all have noticed the increasing interest of the public audience in cooking, stipulated by the growing insight that good food is mandatory for health. Hence, the Computer Cooking Contest offers the opportunity to explain the benefits of our technologies intelligible to all.


The Computer Cooking Contest is an open competition. Any individual, student, research group and professional is invited to submit software that creates a recipe for a single dish or even a three course menu. The input will be a database of basic recipes from which appropriate recipes must be selected, modified, or even combined. The queries to the system will consist of a number of desired ingredients and other requirements for the dish or menu.
The overall competition consists of a main compulsory task and two additional challenge tasks.

The Compulsory Task involves answering queries that require the selection and, where appropriate, modification of recipe for a single dish. An example query might be to "cook a main dish with turkey, pistachio, and pasta without garlic". An appropriate answer would be to replace chicken by turkey in a recipe for pistachio chicken.

The Adaptation Challenge is to answer queries that require an adaptation of both the list of ingredients and instructions for preparation of the dish. This challenge will operate on a restricted recipe base.

The Menu Challenge requires the composition of a three-course menu based on the available recipes. For example we might ask: "I have a filet of beef, carrots, celery, field garlic and cucumber. Potatoes are available, too. For the dessert, we have oranges and mint. A soup would be preferable for the starter." In this case, a Caldo Verde as a starter, filet steak with baked potatoes, and an orange ice cream with mint flavour would be a good solution.

Please note that for most of the queries there is not a single correct or best answer. Often many different solutions are possible, depending on your creativity or the creativity of your software. We also do not impose any restriction on the technology that may be used. Case-based reasoning is one candidate technology, but other approaches are certainly suitable as well. The only restriction is that the given database of recipes must be used as a starting point. We will not provide a formal query language. Queries will be described in free text but the software to be developed can use any kind of user interaction (structural/formula-based, conversation, text-based).

Evaluation Criteria

All systems will be evaluated with respect to scientific/technical quality (technical originality of the approach, usability of the software, maintainability, and scalability) and with respect to the culinary quality of the created recipes (appropriate to the query, tasty, cookable, creative). The evaluation will be based on (1) peer review of a technical paper describing the system and (2) assessment by an international jury of experts including a professional cook.

Competition Procedure and Timeline

December 1, 2008: Publication of Contest Conditions and Material
A detailed description of the competition rules, an initial database of recipes in XML format, and a first set of queries will be published. The format will be very similar to last year's but the content will be new.

April 24, 2009: Qualifying Examination
To this deadline, the contest participants must submit:

  • an up-to-10-page technical description of the system,
  • the URL of the running system (web interface),
  • an additional document with the system results for the exercise queries

The submitted papers and the systems will be evaluated in a peer review process, and the best entries will be selected for participation in the final. The finalists may, of course, continue to improve their systems for the final stage of the competition.

July 21, 2009: Computer Cooking Contest
Systems qualifying for the final will be demonstrated at the Computer Cooking Contest at ICCBR. At least one person per finalist must register for ICCBR, demonstrate the system and give a technical presentation at the CCC workshop. The technical descriptions of the finalist systems will be published in the ICCBR workshop proceedings. The systems will be evaluated according to the initial set of queries and a confidential set of new queries. The new queries will be different, but similar in type and difficulty to the first set. The recipe base will be the same as in the qualifying round. The evaluation will be performed by an international jury. Separate prices will be awarded for the compulsory tasks and for the two challenges.

Contact: Please do not hesitate to contact the organizers if you have any questions.

Mirjam Minor

University of Trier, Germany
Armin Stahl

DFKI, Germany
David Leake

Indiana University, USA