AlphaFold @ CASP13: “What just happened?”

Update: An updated version of this blogpost was published as a (peer-reviewed) Letter to the Editor at Bioinformatics, sans the “sociology” commentary. I just came back from CASP13, the…

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Hasnain says:

This is from the CASP-13 results from two years ago. I wonder what the author thinks of the latest results. The indictment of academic science is damning and even scarier is the indictment of big pharma below it.

“An indictment of academic science

I don’t think we would do ourselves a service by not recognizing that what just happened presents a serious indictment of academic science. There are dozens of academic groups, with researchers likely numbering in the (low) hundreds, working on protein structure prediction. We have been working on this problem for decades, with vast expertise built up on both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific, and not insignificant computational resources when measured collectively. For DeepMind’s group of ~10 researchers, with primarily (but certainly not exclusively) ML expertise, to so thoroughly route everyone surely demonstrates the structural inefficiency of academic science. This is not Go, which had a handful of researchers working on the problem, and which had no direct applications beyond the core problem itself. Protein folding is a central problem of biochemistry, with profound implications for the biological and chemical sciences. How can a problem of such vital importance be so badly neglected?”

Posted on 2020-12-01T04:41:23+0000