Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Robot Scientist Becomes First Machine To Discover New Scientific Knowledge

Date:
April 3, 2009
Source:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Summary:
Researchers in the UK have created a 'robot scientist' which they believe is the first machine to have independently discovered new scientific knowledge. The robot, called Adam, is a computer system that fully automates the scientific process.

Prof. Ross King, in front of Adam, the robot scientist.
Credit: Image courtesy of Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

Researchers funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) have created a 'robot scientist' which they believe is the first machine to have independently discovered new scientific knowledge. The robot, called Adam, is a computer system that fully automates the scientific process. The work will be published in the journal Science.

Prof Ross King, who led the research at Aberystwyth University, said: "Ultimately we hope to have teams of human and robot scientists working together in laboratories."

The scientists at Aberystwyth University and the University of Cambridge designed Adam to carry out each stage of the scientific process automatically without the need for further human intervention. The robot has discovered simple but new scientific knowledge about the genomics of the baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, an organism that scientists use to model more complex life systems. The researchers have used separate manual experiments to confirm that Adam's hypotheses were both novel and correct.

"Because biological organisms are so complex it is important that the details of biological experiments are recorded in great detail. This is difficult and irksome for human scientists, but easy for Robot Scientists."

Using artificial intelligence, Adam hypothesised that certain genes in baker's yeast code for specific enzymes which catalyse biochemical reactions in yeast. The robot then devised experiments to test these predictions, ran the experiments using laboratory robotics, interpreted the results and repeated the cycle.

Adam is a still a prototype, but Prof King's team believe that their next robot, Eve, holds great promise for scientists searching for new drugs to combat diseases such as malaria and schistosomiasis, an infection caused by a type of parasitic worm in the tropics.

Prof King continued: "If science was more efficient it would be better placed to help solve society's problems. One way to make science more efficient is through automation. Automation was the driving force behind much of the 19th and 20th century progress, and this is likely to continue."

Prof Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: "Computers play a fundamental role in the scientific process, which is becoming increasingly automated, for instance in drug design and DNA sequencing. This has led to more scientific data, increasingly available on the web, which in turn requires an increased use of computers to analyse these data. Robot scientists could provide a useful tool for managing such data and knowledge, making scientific procedures easier and more efficient. This kind of learning will become even more important as we move further towards integrative and predictive biology in the era of Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ross D. King, Jem Rowland, Stephen G. Oliver, Michael Young, Wayne Aubrey, Emma Byrne, Maria Liakata, Magdalena Markham, Pinar Pir, Larisa N. Soldatova, Andrew Sparkes, Kenneth E. Whelan, and Amanda Clare. The Automation of Science. Science, 2009; 324 (5923): 85-89 DOI: 10.1126/science.1165620

Cite This Page:

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Robot Scientist Becomes First Machine To Discover New Scientific Knowledge." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090402143451.htm>.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. (2009, April 3). Robot Scientist Becomes First Machine To Discover New Scientific Knowledge. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090402143451.htm
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Robot Scientist Becomes First Machine To Discover New Scientific Knowledge." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090402143451.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nintendo Changed Gaming World, but Its Future Uncertain: Upstone

Nintendo Changed Gaming World, but Its Future Uncertain: Upstone

AFP (Apr. 19, 2014) The Nintendo Game Boy celebrates its 25th anniversary Monday and game expert Stephen Upstone says the console can be credited with creating a trend towards handheld gaming devices. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Did Nike Fire Most Of Its Nike FuelBand Team?

Why Did Nike Fire Most Of Its Nike FuelBand Team?

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nike fired most of its Digital Sport hardware team, the group behind Nike's FuelBand device. Could Apple or an overcrowded market be behind layoffs? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nearly Two Weeks On, The Internet Copes With Heartbleed

Nearly Two Weeks On, The Internet Copes With Heartbleed

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) The Internet is taking important steps in patching the vulnerabilities Heartbleed highlighted, but those preventive measures carry their own costs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Facebook To Share Nearby Friends Data With Advertisers

Facebook To Share Nearby Friends Data With Advertisers

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) A Facebook spokesperson has confirmed the company will use GPS data from the new Nearby Friends feature for advertising sometime in the future. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins