Remember AlphaStar, the AI that kicked everyone’s ass in StarCraft 2? That was cool. But it turns out that DeepMind, the Google-owned company that created it, had higher aspirations that just being really good at an RTS. As reported by The Guardian, DeepMind has a another AI called AlphaFold, and it’s recently made unprecedented advances in the field of protein folding.Protein folding is the process by which protein chains acquire their three-dimensional structures, which are foundational elements of biology. The more scientists can understand the process and predict how protein folding occurs, the better equipped they are to develop medical treatments for a tremendous range of illnesses and disease. It also opens the door to other advances, like the development of better GM crops.The trouble is that there are a massive number of possible combinations—humans have more than 20,000 proteins, according to this Carleton University report on using AI to develop a COVID-19 treatment, with more than 200 million potential interactions between them—and determining these shapes is a slow and painstaking progress. Distributed computing projects like [email protected] have helped (and we have a team, if you’d like to contribute), but the AlphaFold project promises much bigger things: It outperformed other entrants… Read full this story
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