Microsoft’s head of AI4Science sees machine learning partially supplanting simulation
Artificial intelligence has become an indispensable tool in many scientists’ lives, such that its use by researchers now has its own moniker—AI4Science—used by conferences and laboratories. Last month, Microsoft announced its own AI4Science initiative, employing dozens of people spread across several countries. Chris Bishop, its director, started on the science side before gravitating to AI. He earned a Ph.D. in quantum field theory at the University of Edinburgh, then worked in nuclear fusion before machine learning caught his eye in the 1980s. He began applying neural networks to his own work. “I was kind of 25 years early,” he says, “but it really has taken off.” He joined Microsoft Research’s Cambridge lab in 1997, eventually becoming its director, and now has a new role. We spoke about the evolution of the scientific method, lasers versus beer, and nerdy T-shirts.
IEEE Spectrum:What is Microsoft AI4Science?