The BCS Machine Intelligence Prize is awarded for a live demonstration of 'Progress Towards Machine Intelligence'.
"Adam", The Robot Scientist, developed by Emma Byrne and the team at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, can reason about experiments and experimental results on the function of genes in yeast. Adam's machine intelligence allows Adam to carefully choose useful experiments to determine these functions. There are potentially 10 to the power of 13 experiments for each of the 6000 or so genes in yeast, but careful selection of the most useful experiments can reduce this number to a mere handful. Without Adam, it would take longer than the existence of the universe to carry out all of these experiments. Emma hopes that future developments in the automation of scientific experimentation can assist in the discovery of useful new human medicines. This groundbreaking work is not yet carried out anywhere else in the world.
Emma said, "Adam's intelligence allows him to choose and automatically carry out experiments, removing much of the routine drudge from scientific discovery. Adam has access to a yeast "library" of strains, each with one gene removed from the genome and many chemical compounds. Each experiment is a combination of a yeast strain and a number of chemicals, and the outcome of the experiment can provide information about the function of the missing gene. Adam is capable of constructing 1,000 experiments a day so he has the potential to identify the function of many genes at a time. I hope the intelligence used by Adam will help other scientists to focus more on scientific discovery than on routine laboratory work". Related work involving the University of Wales, Aberystwyth applies similar ideas to Quantum Chemistry.
The Electrolux Sponsored Artificial Intelligence Awards are held annually at Cambridge University by the British Computer Society. The finalists in this year's competition had been asked to produce real working intelligent machines and present them to the Society at the finals on 12th December 2006 at Peterhouse College. The members then cast their votes and the winner received a plaque from the Society and a cash prize from Electrolux.
``Electrolux are proud to sponsor this prestigious event and award the prize to such a worthy winner,'' said Andy Mackay, UK Brand and Marketing Director, Electrolux Major Appliances and Floorcare. ``Electrolux has already pioneered machine intelligence in domestic appliances: the Electrolux Trilobite robotic vacuum cleaner, The Zanussi-Electrolux Voice talking washing machine, the application of fuzzy logic in washing machines and automatic self programming in dishwashers. The Electrolux Screenfridge, a stunning stainless steel side by side, is also the most intelligent fridge freezer on the market today! We wish Emma a successful future for Adam with this exciting breakthrough for science.''
The other finalists of this year's awards were:
Prof Ruth Aylett of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh with her system FearNot (Fun with Empathic Agents Reaching Novel Outcomes in Teaching). Her system uses intelligent graphical characters to improvise relationships between bullies and their victims. The user, usually a child aged 10, is asked for advice which is used by the `virtual' victim and influences their behaviour in the next episode.
Philip Smart and Alia Abdelmoty of Cardiff University with their system SWS RuLE. This system can find the rules of reasoning in space from knowledge of the position of certain objects. The rules can then be used to derive new information in very large spatial databases such as those used to describe places on maps.