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Scientific Society

Scientific Society:
Dr. Hugh Cartwright on Artificial Intelligence

Dr. Hugh Cartwright from the Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory of Oxford University gave a very interesting talk to the Scientific Society about Artificial Intelligence in Science, his main area of research. He outlined some of the techniques used in Artificial Intelligence, such as Self-Organising maps, Genetic Algorithms and Neural Networks. Neural Networks combine sets of data (such as age, annual income, marital status, and education) to make a prediction and are frequently used by banks and building societies to predict whether a candidate for a mortgage is likely to pay it back. However, Dr. Cartwright was keen to point out the scientific applications of AI. For example, Genetic Algorithms can be used to predict how bacteria are likely to spread and react to certain conditions when used for cleaning up contaminated sites on which housing is to be built. Self-Organising Maps, on the other hand, can be used to trace degraded oil spills back to the well from which the oil came. This information can then be used to determine which company spilt the oil, and this company can then be brought to justice. It was, on the whole, a most enjoyable and enlightening talk.
Jasper Menkus KS
DATE POSTED: 09 March 2010

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