Automating Biology using Robot Scientists

Tapahtuman tyyppi: 
09.06.2011 - 15:15 - 16:00
Ross King
Exactum B222

Prof. Ross King (Aberystwyth University, UK) will give a guest lecture on Thu, June 9th, at 3:15 pm, in Exactum B222.

Automating Biology using Robot Scientists


A Robot Scientist is a physically implemented robotic system that applies techniques from artificial intelligence to execute cycles of automated scientific experimentation. A Robot Scientist can automatically execute cycles of: hypothesis formation, selection of efficient experiments to discriminate between hypotheses, execution of experiments using laboratory automation equipment, and analysis of results. We have developed the Robot Scientist “Adam” to investigate yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) functional genomics. Adam has autonomously identified genes encoding locally “orphan” enzymes in yeast. This is the first time a machine has discovered novel scientific knowledge. To describe Adam's research we have developed an ontology and logical language. Use of these produced a formal argument involving over 10,000 different research units that relates Adam's 6.6 million biomass  measurements to its conclusions. We are now developing the Robot Scientist “Eve” to automate drug screening and QSAR development.


Ross King is a Professor of Computer Science in Aberystwyth University, Wales, UK.  He has an international reputation in bioinformatics, chemoinformatics and machine learning, with  >120 refereed publications in these fields. He runs his own wet biology lab, the only one he knows run by a PI in a Computer Science Dept. He was one of the first to apply machine learning to bioinformatics, where it is now a dominant technology. In machine learning he initiated the application of Inductive Logic Programming (ILP) to real world problems.  The research achievement of which he is most proud of is originating the idea of a “Robot Scientist”: using laboratory robotics to physically implement a closed-loop scientific discovery system. 


Hannu Toivonen



06.06.2011 - 10:57 Hannu Toivonen
03.06.2011 - 13:44 Hannu Toivonen