Eureqa Artificially Intelligent Computer Scientist

Eureqa is an artificial intelligence program that autonomously seeks working equations to describe data from experiments. Eureqa is the direct descendent of the marvelous introspective starfish robot developed by Dr. Hod Lipson and others at the Computational Synthesis Lab at Cornell University.

The program begins by examining the data for numbers that appear to be connected, and then suggests equations that fit the connections. Of the proposed equations most fail, but some are less wrong than others, and these are selected and modified and then repeatedly re-tested against the data and tweaked until a workable equation is identified. In some cases there is not enough data to enable Eureqa to find equations, but in these cases the latest version of the program may identify the gaps in the data and even recommend experiments to supply the missing data. Eureqa was able to calculate in hours equations that Newton took years to find, and Lipson hopes it can do the same for data such as the interactions between proteins, genomes and cell signals, which are so complicated that describing the interactions mathematically has so far been impossible. While Lipson envisaged the program as having application mainly in biological fields, it will analyze any data that can be presented in a spreadsheet.

Even more remarkable is the ability to actively modify experiments already underway. Dr John Wikswo of Vanderbilt University is using Eureqa to study the effects of cocaine on white blood cells. He believes that the biology is too complicated for human beings to fully understand. Using other devices created by Lipson and his team, Eureqa can adjust valves that control the administration of toxins and nutrients

Eureqa reminds me of Dr. Theopolis the intelligent computer from the NBC television series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Dr. Theopolis, an artificial intelligence, was regarded one of Earth's leading scientists and often gave scientific advice. He took the form of a large, clock-like medallion usually carried around by Twiki, the little android robot.


(Dr. Theopolis from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century)

See also this article on Adam, the original robot scientist created by scientists at Aberystwyth University and the University of Cambridge.

From Physorg; download the software from Cornell University's Eureqa site.

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