Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Connecting Big Data

PostedMarch 8, 2015

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Anchor Lead: The government agency tasked with seemingly impossible technical projects – DARPA – is engineering a way to understand extremely complex systems…like climate, economics, and disease.

Randy Atkins: They’re starting with cancer. Paul Cohen, a DARPA program manager, says even as millions of scientific papers sharpen the focus on specific parts of the disease, the big picture remains blurry.

Paul Cohen: No single human being can understand anything that complicated. So we’re having machines help.

Randy Atkins: First, computers are being trained to read technical papers and make connections.

Paul Cohen: Article one talks about this part of a complicated mechanism and it overlaps with article two which talks about another part of a complicated mechanism and we basically glue them together.

Randy Atkins: To build a model of how a cancer could develop so that intervention therapies can be designed...and then experimentally tested. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.