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ACM TechNews

Data Mining Promises to Dig ­p New Drugs

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European researchers have developed a robot called Eve that uses artificial intelligence, data mining, and knowledge discovery technology to analyze the results of the pharmacological experiments that it conducts. The robot can make informed decisions on how effective different chemical compounds will be at fighting diseases, potentially providing more effective treatments and a faster development process for medicines. Eve relates the chemical structure of different compounds to their pharmacological activity to learn which chemical compounds should be tested next. "Over time, Eve will learn to pick out the chemical compounds that are likely to be most effective against a certain target by analyzing data from past experiments and comparing chemical structures to their pharmacological properties," says Jozef Stefan Institute researcher Saso Dzeroski. Dzeroski says Eve should help scientists and pharmaceutical companies identify more effective compounds to treat diseases, and help them find drugs in a fraction of the time and cost of current methods.

Dzeroski says Eve is the first robot-based computer system capable of originating its own experiments, physically performing them, interpreting the results, and repeating the cycle. He says that instead of choosing compounds for testing at random, Eve can pick compounds that are more likely to be effective.

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