Saturday, July 20, 2019

The diffusion of knowledge

Szilard and Wigner told Einstein about their recent calculations... how the fission process might create chain reactions and nuclear bombs. "Daran habe ich gar nicht gedacht," said Einstein -- I did not think about that at all!
In the past two weeks I gave talks at ISIR2019 (Minneapolis), the Institute of Biomedical Sciences (Academia Sinica, Taipei -- home of the Taiwan biobank), Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI = CRISPR central, UC Berkeley and UCSF) and at OpenAI (AGI in San Francisco).
Title: Genomic Prediction of Complex Traits and Disease Risks via AI/ML and Large Genomic Datasets

Abstract: The talk is divided into two parts. The first gives an overview of the rapidly advancing area of genomic prediction of disease risks using polygenic scores. We can now identify risk outliers (e.g., with 5 or 10 times normal risk) for about 20 common disease conditions, ranging from diabetes to heart diseases to breast cancer, using inexpensive SNP genotypes (i.e., as offered by 23andMe). We can also predict some complex quantitative traits (e.g., adult height with accuracy of few cm, using ~20k SNPs). I discuss application of these results in precision medicine as well as embryo selection in IVF, and give some details about genetic architectures. The second part covers the AI/ML used to build these predictors, with an emphasis on "sparse learning" and phase transitions in high dimensional statistics.
Slides for the first part of the talk.

I also appeared on Dilbert creator Scott Adam's show.

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