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e4r 2020

Thoughtworks Engineering for Research (E4R) Symposium 2020 focused on how AI is redefining scientific discovery

Notable luminaries debated the possibility of AI winning the Nobel Prize

Thoughtworks, a global software consultancy, successfully concluded the third annual Engineering For Research (E4R) Symposium held on 10 - 11, October. The two-day virtual event was attended by leading members of academia, scientists, engineers and eminent thought leaders from across the world.


Discussions focused on how Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are redefining scientific discovery. Below are some of the key takeaways from the symposium -


  • AI empowers humans to ask questions that were never before considered, which in turn transforms the very possibilities of science.
  • AI can eliminate cognitive bias, the limitations of semantics, and the challenges faced by humans in the pursuit of scientific discovery.
  • Scientists can use AI to improve the productivity of science, making it economical, faster and more accurate. AI systems could have 'superhuman' scientific reasoning powers that complement what humans are capable of.


On occasion of the E4R Symposium 2020, Gunjan Shukla, head of Thoughtworks' engineering for research initiative said: "The thought provoking discussions have made abundantly clear AI's potential to revolutionize the field of research. The symposium tackled a few extremely pertinent and in-depth questions around embedding creativity, empathy, curiosity and serendipity in the AI systems of the future. Poised at the cusp of a transformative period for scientific discovery, we at Thoughtworks are excited to work with organizations that are building the tools to further scientific exploration."


Dr. Ross D King, professor, department of biology and biological engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and the opening keynote speaker at the symposium noted: "Today, many people live a better lifestyle than the most powerful kings of a 1000 years ago. We have better food, travel, health services and more. To enable this quality of life for everyone we require radically better science and technology. This can only happen through the effective leveraging of AI, that has the power to make science more efficient, cost effective, robust and more reproducible. And, it would be nothing short of historical for us, as a society that largely depends on science and technology, if AI were to advance sufficiently to make discoveries worthy of a Nobel Prize one day."


The two-day virtual event featured 10 sessions led by the following acclaimed speakers:


  • Dr. Ross King, Professor, Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
  • Dr. Hiroaki Kitano, President & CEO, Sony Computer Science Laboratories
  • Dr. Sanjay Chandrashekharan, Associate Professor, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE), India
  • Dr. Mary-Anne Williams, Distinguished Research Professor, School of Computer Science, Australia
  • Dr. Abhishek Kumar Singh, Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Science, India
  • Dr. Urbasi Sinha, Professor, Raman Research Institute, India
  • Dr. Benjamin Jantzen, Associate Professor, Virginia Tech, USA
  • Dr. Vikram Jamwal, Principal Scientist at TCS Research, India
  • Dr. Peter Clark, Senior Research Manager, Allen Institute of AI, US
  • Prof. Sundar Sarukkai, Founder, Barefoot Philosophers


To learn more about Thoughtworks Engineering for Research initiative, visit this link.