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Robot makes scientific discovery


Whales Online:

IT was hailed as taking artificial intelligence to a new level.

Now, the creation by Welsh scientists of the first robot in the world to make an independent scientific discovery has been named the fourth most significant discovery of 2009 by one of the world’s most influential magazines.

Adam, a computer that fully automates the scientific process, discovered in April how a baker’s yeast converts food like sugar into the amino acid lysine to produce the protein in bread.

The robot then devised experiments to test its predictions, ran experiments using laboratory robotics and interpreted the results, before repeating the cycle.

[...]Time said of Adam: “By any standard, it was an elementary discovery — the identification of the role of about a dozen genes in a yeast cell. But what made this finding a major breakthrough was the unlikely form of the scientist: a robot.

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