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DeepMind AI solves 50-year protein folding problem in “stunning advance”

Published in Tech News.

Predicting the structures of unfolded proteins is a long-pursued goal in biology, and the Deepmind AI tool can now do so with high accuracy.

While some of the applications for artificial intelligence involve say, winning games of Texas hold’em or recreating pretty paintings, there are areas where the technology could have truly profound consequences. Among those is medical care, and a major breakthrough from Alphabet’s DeepMind AI could be a gamechanger in this regard, with the system demonstrating an ability to predict the 3D structures of unique proteins, overcoming a problem that has plagued biologists for half a century.

By understanding the 3D shapes of different proteins, scientists can better understand what they do and how the cause diseases, which in turn paves the way for better drug discovery. Beyond that, as a central component to the chemical processes for all living things, more expedient mapping of 3D protein structures would benefit many fields of biological research, but this process has proven painstaking.