Scientists From Google DeepMind Win Huge Prize for Their AI Capable of Predicting the Structure of Proteins

Scientists From Google DeepMind Win Huge Prize for Their AI Capable of Predicting the Structure of Proteins

If you want to find out a sure method for winning $3 million in one blow, you could consider building an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system that’s capable of predicting how proteins fold in their 3D shapes. Simple, right? That’s the method that the guys from Google DeepMind used to create the AlphaFold system, and it brought them the prize of $3 million, according to!

To be more precise, the winners are Demis Hassabis and John Jumper. Hassabis is the CEO of DeepMind, while Jumper is a senior staff research scientist at the company. They both were awarded the Breakthrough Prizes in Life Sciences.

Understanding how life works

AlphaFold does more than just predict how proteins fold in 3D shapes. It also potentially opens a path toward new vaccines, nanomaterials, therapies, and more.

Here’s an important and official statement:

In the Life Sciences, Demis Hassabis and John Jumper are the leaders behind AlphaFold 2, the AI system that has largely solved the protein structure prediction problem – one of the biggest challenges in biology. Proteins are the nano-machines that run cells, and predicting their 3D structure from the sequence of their amino acids is central to understanding the workings of life.

The same source adds:

With their team at DeepMind, Hassabis and Jumper conceived and constructed a deep learning system that accurately and rapidly models the structure of proteins. AlphaFold has already had a revolutionary impact in the life sciences: this summer DeepMind uploaded the structures of 200 million proteins – nearly every known protein from across the tree of life – to a public database. 

A single cell contains 42 million protein molecules. Proteins can be found in all living things, as they play critical roles in all organisms. Proteins are needed to do most of the work that occurs in cells. 

Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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