Cognitive computers — machines capable of learning, rather that simply following programming — may one day be able to mimic human brains. But first, they're being used to invent chocolate burritos and Swiss-Thai asparagus quiche. IBM, a leader in the field of cognitive computing who has been working with DARPA since 2008 on a project to create a computer that thinks as people do, has partnered with the Institute of Culinary Education to take the IBM Food Truck on a tour round the United States. On its travels, top chefs will be serving meals dreamed up by a computer.

Eater says the meals the truck's chefs have already made include Creole shrimp-lamb dumpling, Baltic apple pie, and Turkish bruschetta. The cognitive computer is different from a regular search engine in that it eschews existing recipes, instead instructing the chefs to combine wildly different ingredients and flavors into the same, never-made-before dishes. The food truck, and its strange menu, was shown off at the IBM Pulse conference this week in Las Vegas, and the first stop on its tour will be Austin, just in time for the upcoming SXSW festival.