Anyone who is plugged into the tech world knows that AI and big data is big business right now. Our technological ability to process and analyze large troves of data grows every year, unlocking new doors at every turn. Big data and AI is big business, but it's also key to solving some of the world's biggest problems. One of the areas where this progress is especially exciting is in medical research-where once it took a pair of human eyes to sort through millions of cell images, we now have AI which can perform the same analyses by many orders of magnitude faster. With this in mind, Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation, best known as Booz Allen, widely-renowned management and consulting and IT firm, and Kaggle, the world's largest online data science community, announced today the fourth annual Data Science Bowl.
What is the Data Science Bowl?
The 90-day-long, worldwide competition will ask its thousands of participants to train deep learning models for the express purpose of analyzing cell images and identifying nuclei across different experiments, without biologist intervention. Each previous Data Science Bowl has targeted a different topic-e.g, lung cancer, heart disease, and ocean health. The winners-the creators of the top algorithms-get to split $170,000 worth of cash and prizes (including Nvidia's powerhouse personal AI supercomputer, the DGX Station). Not a bad little payout, if you ask me.
This particular challenge was selected for the 2018 Bowl, because there are currently no deep-learning models capable of identifying cell nuclei across multiple different testing conditions and experimental setups. All of the methods currently available to science require human intervention, which creates a time-consuming bottleneck in research. Biologists specialize in biology, not technology-they simply don't have the technical know-how to train deep learning models themselves. Which, of course, is where the Data Science Bowl comes into the picture.
The Data Science Bowl is very much a joint effort. With Booz Allen Hamilton and Kaggle leading the way, the event is sponsored and supported by multiple leading health and technology organizations-NVIDIA, PerkinElmer, Inc., a science and medicine technology provider, and the Broad Institute, a biomedical and genomic research center in Cambridge, MA.
I think the Data Science Bowl is a great concept-it's a wonderful way to get a bunch of techies to focus their expertise and skills on one particular, solvable issue of societal importance, that they might not otherwise think to get involved with. Not to sound too cynical, but money can be quite persuasive and inspirational that way. The 2018 Data Science Bowl is working towards a great cause and one that could have very measurable benefits in the realm of medicine and science. I give Booz Allen Hamilton, NVIDIA, and PerkinElmer a lot of credit for doing good and along with it, thoughtfully finding a way to raise the business stature in the AI and ML. This is good for recruiting, experience, and ultimately good for business.
Good luck to all the participants - you're doing good work. If you're not a participant and want a crack at $170,000 in prizes and want to be part of potentially solving one of the greatest medical challenges, throw in here!