For about 50 years, researchers have strived to predict how proteins achieve their three-dimensional structure, and it’s not an easy problem to solve.
Google’s Deepmind claims to have created an artificially intelligent program called “AlphaFold” that is able to solve those problems in a matter of days.
The latest version of DeepMind’s AlphaFold, a deep-learning system that can accurately predict the structure of proteins to within the width of an atom, has cracked one of biology’s grand challenges.
According to John Moult, Professor at the University of Maryland, “It’s the first use of AI to solve a serious problem,”.
In the experiment, DeepMind used a new deep learning architecture for AlphaFold that was able to interpret and compute the ‘spatial graph’ of 3D proteins, predicting the molecular structure underpinning their folded configuration.
If all goes according to plan, experts suggest the solution has come “decades” earlier than expected, potentially leading to revolutionary ways diseases are treated.
Google DeepMind worked on the AI project with 14th Community Wide Experiment on the Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction (CASP14), scientists investigating the matter since 1994.
(With inputs from agencies)