SoylentNews is people

Title    Machine Learning Comes to Biochemistry
Date    Wednesday February 13 2019, @08:06AM
Author    martyb
from the know-when-to-hold-'em,-know-when-to-fold-'em dept.

takyon writes:

Making New Drugs With a Dose of Artificial Intelligence

Every two years, hundreds of scientists enter a global competition. Tackling a biological puzzle they call "the protein folding problem," they try to predict the three-dimensional shape of proteins in the human body. No one knows how to solve the problem. Even the winners only chip away at it. But a solution could streamline the way scientists create new medicines and fight disease.

Mohammed AlQuraishi, a biologist who has dedicated his career to this kind of research, flew in early December to Cancun, Mexico, where academics were gathering to discuss the results of the latest contest. As he checked into his hotel, a five-star resort on the Caribbean, he was consumed by melancholy. The contest, the Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction, was not won by academics. It was won by DeepMind, the artificial intelligence lab owned by Google's parent company. "I was surprised and deflated," said Dr. AlQuraishi, a researcher at Harvard Medical School. "They were way out in front of everyone else."

[...] "It is not that machines are going to replace chemists," said Derek Lowe, a longtime drug discovery researcher and the author of In the Pipeline, a widely read blog dedicated to drug discovery. "It's that the chemists who use machines will replace those that don't."

After the conference in Cancun, Dr. AlQuraishi described his experience in a blog post. The melancholy he felt after losing to DeepMind gave way to what he called "a more rational assessment of the value of scientific progress." But he strongly criticized big pharmaceutical companies like Merck and Novartis, as well as his academic community, for not keeping pace.

[For those who might not be aware, the Derek Lowe mentioned above is the author of the Things I Won't Work With blog. If you want to read about things that burn, go BOOM, or otherwise wreak havoc you'd be hard pressed to find a more entertaining source. --martyb]

Original Submission


  1. "takyon" -
  2. "Making New Drugs With a Dose of Artificial Intelligence" -
  3. "in a blog post" -
  4. "Things I Won't Work With" -
  5. "Original Submission" -

© Copyright 2023 - SoylentNews, All Rights Reserved

printed from SoylentNews, Machine Learning Comes to Biochemistry on 2023-04-02 08:27:20