Machine Learning Illuminates the Body’s Dark Matter

A startup finds patterns that experts in personalized medicine say they couldn’t see before.

Shelby Pope
May 24, 2018 · 5 min read
Larry Smarr says the technology unlocked new insights about the microbiome. (Illustration by Nick Vokey; photo courtesy of RogDel/Wikipedia)
Mark Anderson, left, with Smarr at the Pattern Computer launch.

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In 2009, Leroy Hood, one of the developers of gene-sequencing technology and a trailblazer for a comprehensive view of health called “systems biology,” wrote an article for Newsweek called “A Doctor's Vision of the Future of Medicine.” In the future he imagined, people were testing their own blood with at-home devices, allowing their doctors to analyze mind-boggling amounts of information about their health, down to the level of genes. That article was set in … June 2018.


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