COMSTECH in collaboration with International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, Karachi organized an International Workshop on “Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning in Life Sciences” on March 25.

COMSTECH in collaboration with International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, Karachi organized an International Workshop on “Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning in Life Sciences” on March 25.

COMSTECH as host institution represents 57 member states, it is a second largest block of countries after United Nations. Countries situated in Africa, Asia and some part of Europe and South America are part of COMSTECH, said Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary, Coordinator General, COMSTECH in his welcome address.

Dr. Choudhary said that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is extremely important, it has been used in COVID19 treatment, patient care, tracking and tracing of positive patients, and most importantly it was used in analysis of big data. He mentioned that science was able to perform because of enabling technologies and AI is certainly one of the most important technologies.

Dr. Choudhary informed that we are in process of establishing a research center particularly focused on the application of AI in health.

Dr. Saurabh Sinha, of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign addressed the workshop and talked about cyberinfrastructure foundations and challenges, big data and use of AI and Machine Learning (ML) and shared his own experiences. He concluded that ML and AI will play a key role in analysis, given the high dimensionality of data, large volumes of training data, and inter-relationships among different components of the data.

Dr. Ghazna Khalid, Advisor to Prime Minister on health, was the guest of honor of the event. She said that AI/ML can help doctors make better clinical decisions, replace human judgment in some areas of healthcare. It can help in diagnostic processes by analyzing data generated from patients.

Dr. Ghazna informed that we use big data set to individualize patient care, we can know the susceptibility to not only the cancer but also the other non-communicable diseases. We will be able to know and predict from our genetic structure the susceptibility of genes. This is why AI and ML is so important to patient care.

She mentioned that genome on chip will make possible the tailor-made patient care possible in future and then be the next revolution in life sciences. The future of doctors is in AI and ML. We need to intertwine it into patient care, to provide better quality and make informed decisions, and understand disease processes.

Dr. Shahid Mehmood, Chairman and CEO of Interactive Group, the chief guest of the workshop, informed that world population is moving to 8.8 to 10.4 billion by 2100, connectivity and geographical shift is taking place as well.

Dr. Shahid said that Al and ML are tools that are fast moving, because the processes, storages, connectivity is now doubling every 12 to 18 months. When we have technology moving at that pace and we have population shift, the analyses specially for future disease monitoring and future control mechanisms become complex.

Dr. Shahid said that population shift is happening, connectivity, and geographical footprint are changing. When geographical footprint changes it also have impact on various communal diseases and whole stuff that we are trying to study with AI and ML as a tool because manually it will become impossible, he pointed out.

He suggested that first thing we need to do in Pakistan is to plan, how and where to store all of these data? How to generate this data in a digital format? How to manage the big data? How to learn all the tools available around the world and how to apply them?

He emphasized to think about, how will we mange data. What will be the cyber sovereignty, authenticity, management and rules that apply to the data that would be generated by all the studies. This becomes the new challenge, he indicated. How do we streamline the data in a manner that can translate into something that can ethically be managed as the future course of action? This is the real challenge not only for Pakistan but also for all OIC states.

Dr. Waseem Haider of COMSATS gave opening remarks, and four lectures were delivered by distinguished speakers in the technical sessions of the workshop.