"If I ask an organic chemist to make me a random new molecule, they can't do it," says Lee Cronin, a professor of chemistry at the University of Glasgow. "It's not because they are stupid. They will ask me what type of molecule and what specification. It could take them one week or ten years. Cronin realised that even though that's a difficult ask for a human being, it probably wasn't such a difficult project for a machine learning robot to undertake.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being used more and more by chemists to perform various tasks. Originally, research in AI applied to chemistry has largely been fueled by the need to accelerate drug discovery and reduce its huge costs and the time to market for new drugs. So far, AI has made significant progess towards the acceleration of drug discovery R&D. However, the applications of AI in chemistry are not limited to drug discovery, as discussed in a recent review. In this article, we will provide a general picture of how AI can help chemists be faster and more creative in their research.
Machine learning can help robots perform chemistry experiments faster than fleshy boffins, according to research published in Nature. Researchers have been exploring how algorithms can predict the outcome of chemical reactions for a while, but this project goes one step further and actually uses a real robot to carry out some of the experiments. It doesn't look anything like what you would imagine. There is no humanoid robot on wheels zipping around a lab, or a mechanical arm swishing beakers of colourful liquid. It's a system that contains a series of pumps and reactors all attached to a mass spectrometer, a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer, and a infrared spectrometer.
To manufacture medicines, chemists must find the right combinations of chemicals to make the necessary chemical structures. This is more complicated than it sounds, as typical chemical reactions employ several different components, and each chemical involved in a reaction adds another dimension to the calculations.
An end-to-end, integrated chemical research system unveiled by IBM last week gives us a glimpse of how artificial intelligence, robotics and the cloud might change the future of drug discovery. And it's a good time as any to see some a breakthrough in the field. The world is still struggling with the covid-19 pandemic, and the race to the find a vaccine for the dangerous novel coronavirus has not yet yielded reliable results. Researchers are bound by travel and social distancing limitations imposed by the virus, and for the most part, they still rely on manual methods that can take many years. While in some cases, such delays can result in inconvenience, in the case of covid-19, it means more lives lost.