The Algorithm That (Recently) Changed the World

“This will change medicine. It will change research. It will change bioengineering. It will change everything.”

E. Alderson
Predict

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Earlier this year, an algorithm was released online — full and completely free — for academics to use. This algorithm represents one of the most important scientific discoveries of our lifetimes, showcasing the growing potential for AI to alter the course of our civilization. Using deep learning and neural networks the algorithm known as Alpha Fold promises to revolutionize the field of biochemistry. It can help us better understand diseases, formulate medicine, and produce solutions to everything from plastic pollution to excess carbon in the atmosphere. By attempting to solve the protein-folding problem we’ve made an exciting and unprecedented breakthrough that will affect the lives of us all.

3D rendering of a chain of amino acids, or what we call a protein.

The protein-folding problem has been an ongoing obstacle for the past 50 years. It first arose in 1972: a new theory proposed that knowing a protein’s amino acid sequence should allow you to fully predict its structure.

Proteins aren’t just fundamental to life, they are responsible for almost all the processes that take place inside a cell. All living organisms rely on these complex molecules. In turn, a protein is made of a chain of 20…

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E. Alderson
Predict

A passion for language, technology, and the unexplored universe. I aim to marry poetry and science.