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Attendees had the opportunity to hear from elite speakers on quantum computing, the sci-fi generation, and how big data will revolutionize healthcare.

Biocom Big Data 2018 Recap: Welcome to the Brave New World of Deep Learning

  • Fri Nov 09 21:49:00 GMT 2018
  • California
  • Author Lauren Panetta

The 3rd Annual Biocom Big Data Summit took place this week in San Diego and the excitement for this ever-evolving event could not have been more apparent. The event dedicated two separate Deep Learning and Big Data Strategy tracks for individuals looking to customize their day to the topics of interest to them and to their company. Attendees heard from elite speakers at companies shaping the way big data and deep learning is used within life sciences, including Amazon Web Services, Kaiser Permanente, CO Network, IBM Watson Health, Illumina, Intel, Interpreta, NVIDIA, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and many others.

Highlights from the day—which was attended by nearly 150 participants—included CO Network’s Founder and Data Trafficker of CO Network, kicking the morning off with an encouraging message to the crowd to keep building deep learning communities and create state-of-the-art company cultures. "We should be unapologetic in trying to crack the language between biology and AI," explained Blake. We all know that science is there, now let's build the community and turn culture into software. 

A thorough presentation of deep learning workflows for genomics applications was given by Ujjwal Ratan, Principle AI/Machine Learning Solutions Architect – Healthcare & Life Sciences at Amazon Web Services. “As a data scientist, you don’t want to spend time setting everything up and optimizing algorithms,” said Ratan. He showed how Amazon SageMaker gives individuals the interface to build, train and tune, then deploy algorithms. Several life science companies and researchers are working with AWS to better understand diseases, including Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, who built OncoScape, to enable researchers to discover new patterns and relationships, furthering cancer research. 

Jonathan Driscoll, Ph.D., Lead AI Scientist for Life Sciences at Dynam.AI dove into the topic of quantum computers and performed an interesting experiment with the crowd to show how five quantum bits (or qbits) can be linked together to behave as one quantum bit. In case you aren’t familiar with qbits, unlike ordinary bits which are represented as 0 or 1, qbits can be represented as both 0 and 1. 

Did you know that we are entering the sci-fi generation? Dr. John Mattison, Assistant Medical Director, Chief Health Information Officer at Kaiser Permanente shared this phenomenon and how in this plecosystem economy we are living in, humans need to understand how to mesh with machines. We shouldn’t be afraid of machines taking over our jobs though. Dr. Tina Moen, Deputy Chief Health Officer at IBM Watson Health explained how humans excel at very different skills compared to the skills cognitive systems are proficient in.

Throughout the day, attendees broke off into separate rooms for Deep Learning lounge talks, where speakers shared how artificial intelligence can be utilized within the pharmaceutical industry using medical imaging biomarkers and algorithms. 

Arguably the most dynamic talk came from the all-women panel later in the day which immersed attendees into the world of genomics and precision medicine with Dawn Barry, President and Co-Founder of Luna DNA, Corina Shtir, Head of Precision Medicine at Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Ashley Van Zeeland, VP of Business Development, Business Operations and Systems Integration at Illumina (and past Biocom Life Science Catalyst Award Winner). “One genome by itself is interesting, but multiple genomes is informative,” shared Ashley Van Zeeland. She expressed the importance of information being easily shareable and standardized in a way that data can be used to leverage genomics. Dawn Barry agreed, noting that while “data is a commodity, the aggregation and organization of data is not a commodity.”

Within the 150 attendees who took advantage of everything the day had to offer was a delegation group from Marseille, France, organized by our French partners Eurobiomed and the San Diego French-American Chamber of Commerce. Joe Panetta, President and CEO of Biocom, warmly welcomed the group who were eager to meet with Southern California companies driving the development of big data, genomics, and precision medicine. 

We’d like to thank our event partner, CO Network, for their hard work in helping to make this event a memorable and valuable one, and our generous sponsors IBM, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Dynam.AI for an incredible summit. 


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