Machine Learning: A New Approach to Drug Discovery with Daphne Koller

800 800 The TWIML AI Podcast (formerly This Week in Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence)

Today we continue our 2019 NeurIPS coverage joined by Daphne Koller, co-Founder and former co-CEO of Coursera and Founder and CEO of Insitro.

We caught up with Daphne, who was the general chair at NeurIPS back in 2008 when there were only 1000(!!) people in attendance, to discuss her work at Insitro, a company looking to advance drug discovery and development with machine learning. In our conversation, we discuss her background in machine learning, beginning in ‘93, her work with the Stanford online machine learning courses, and eventually her work at Coursera. We then transition into a conversation of the current landscape of pharmaceutical drug discovery, including the current pricing of drugs and misnomers with why drugs are so expensive, and an overview of Insitro’s goal of using ML as a “compass” in drug discovery. Finally, we get into the nitty-gritty of how Insitro functions as a company in this space, including their focus on the biology of drug discovery and the landscape of ML techniques being used, Daphne’s thoughts on AutoML, and much more.

Thanks to our sponsor!

Thanks to our friends at Shell for their support of the podcast and their sponsorship of the NeurIPS 2019 series.

Shell has been an early adopter of a wide variety of AI technologies to support use cases across retail, trading, new energies, refineries, exploration, and many more, and is doing some really interesting things, but don’t take it from me.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently noted that “What’s happening at Shell is pretty amazing. They have a very deliberate strategy of using AI, right across their operation… from the drilling operations to safety.”

Last year the company established the Residency Programme, a 2 year, full-time program that allows data scientists and AI engineers to gain experience working on a variety of AI projects across all Shell businesses. If this interests you, I’d encourage you to hit pause and head over to to learn more.

About Daphne

Mentioned in the Interview

  • Insitro
  • Video: Machine Learning: A New Approach to Drug Discovery
  • Check it out

    “More On That Later” by Lee Rosevere licensed under CC By 4.0

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