Travels update

Yesterday we were shown round Canberra including the Botanic Gardens with a splendid Eucalypt garden – the species vary enormously in texture, smooth, rough, shaggy, etc. and the splendid Scribbly gum whose scribbles are made by the Scribbly Gum Moth.
Today an invited talk at Australian National University. When preparing I researched Artificial intelligence (WP) and found:

Artificial intelligence can also be evaluated on specific problems such as small problems in chemistry, hand-writing recognition and game-playing. Such tests have been termed subject matter expert Turing tests. Smaller problems provide more achievable goals and there are an ever-increasing number of positive results.
… and …

 A subject matter expert Turing test is a variation of the Turing test where a computer system attempts to replicate an expert in a given field such as chemistry or marketing. This concept was described by Ray Kurzweil in his 2005 book The Singularity is Near, and is predicted as a consequence of Moore’s Law.

The irony is that the work in “chemistry” relates to the early – and brilliant – work done  in the 1970’s in Harvard, Stanford and elsewhere. Chemists have abandoned – or actively prevented by Closed data – the further development of the methods. Nevertheless the Semantic Web is creeping up on all sides so the techniques required are abundant and cheap.
So for my talk I felt emboldened to ask the question “Can a machine understand chemistry?” (my answer is ‘yes’ – give or take a year or two and the availability of Open Data).
In the afternoon I visited Geoscience Australia (the national geological resource) who are interested in merging GML and GIS systems with CML for chemical composition and geochronology through isotopic measurements. We made great progress in 2-3 hours and I’ll be raising some questions about isotopes on the CML Blog.

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