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Researchers train artificial intelligence to recognize smells

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A team of Google Brain researchers published a new study on arXiv in which they explain how they train artificial intelligence software to recognize smells. They first created a set of more than 5,000 molecules and then labeled these molecules with descriptions that identified the type of odor.

The researchers used a special artificial intelligence called graphical neural network (GNN) so that these molecules were associated with their descriptions based on their structures. This is not a software that can be compared to the sensitivity of the human sense of smell, because the latter is very difficult to define. For example, there are scents that can appear in one way for one person and in another.

Moreover, some molecules sometimes have the same atoms and the same bonds, but they are arranged as mirror images: these molecules, usually recognized by the same software as practically the same, can have completely different smells. And this without mentioning the fragrances that are the result of the fragrances combined.

Despite these undeniable difficulties, Google researchers think that this is an important first step, a step that can also be useful in the fields of chemistry, sensory neuroscience and the production of synthetic fragrances.

This is not the first team of researchers to attempt to mimic or imitate the characteristics of an olfactory system based on artificial intelligence. For example, a team of scientists from the Barbican Centre in London used machine learning techniques to “recreate” the smell of an extinct flower. In addition, IBM is conducting experiments to create new fragrances generated by artificial intelligence.


See also:

https://arxiv.org/abs/1910.10685

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Martin Hill

An accomplished journalist and freelancer, Martin has held a long career in media and has worked for numerous different agencies. He was an editor for the Arizona Business Gazette for over 10 years before joining the Tucson Weekly (tucsonweekly.com) and founding Hplex Science News, a new publication with the aim of reporting on science news over the internet. Beyond having extensive writing and research experience, Martin is also a science enthusiast with a passion for science and technology. In his younger life, he had studied mechanical engineering before moving on to journalism.
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Science

Producing steel without emitting CO2 is perhaps possible thanks to hydrogen

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Producing steel also means emitting a lot of CO2 into the environment. It is estimated, in fact, that the steel industry itself generates between 7 and 9% of CO2 emissions among all those generated through the use of fossil fuels, as noted in a new statement published on the CORDIS website.

Of course, several studies are underway to limit CO2 production when steel is produced, but not many of them have achieved results that suggest real applications. Now a new project, called H2Future and funded by the European Union, aims to discover new energy sources to achieve, albeit gradually, a real decarbonisation of steel production. In this regard, it is planned to use hydrogen as a renewable electricity source.

A pilot plant has already been set up in Linz, Austria, which has a capacity of 6 MW of electricity from renewable sources to produce up to 1200 m³ of green hydrogen. The press release on the launch of this new plant speaks of “an important milestone for the industrial application of electrolysis” in the steel industry, refineries, fertiliser production and other industrial sectors.

The new plant is based on the technique of electrolysis, a phenomenon in which water is divided into hydrogen and oxygen by electric current, as explained in the press release on the project website: “PEM technology works using a proton exchange membrane as the electrolyte. This membrane has a special property: it is permeable to protons but not to gases such as hydrogen and oxygen. This means that in a PEM-based electrolyzer the membrane acts as an electrolyte and separator to prevent the mixing of gaseous products.”

Martin Hill

An accomplished journalist and freelancer, Martin has held a long career in media and has worked for numerous different agencies. He was an editor for the Arizona Business Gazette for over 10 years before joining the Tucson Weekly (tucsonweekly.com) and founding Hplex Science News, a new publication with the aim of reporting on science news over the internet. Beyond having extensive writing and research experience, Martin is also a science enthusiast with a passion for science and technology. In his younger life, he had studied mechanical engineering before moving on to journalism.
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Martin Hill
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Science

Heartburn medication useful to fight labial herpes according to study

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A new combination of drugs that could be helpful in treating lip herpes more effectively has been developed by a team of researchers at the University of Kent.
The study, published in Frontiers in Microbiology, explains how researchers tested different drugs by applying them to various cell cultures and discovered how some drugs used for heartburn improve the effectiveness of antiviral acyclovir. The latter is the drug used to fight the Herpes simplex virus.

The drugs used by researchers in combination with acyclovir are drugs treated for heartburn and are included in the category of proton pump inhibitors. They also include omeprazole.
Herpes simplex can be very worrying for people with weak or suppressed immune systems. In these people it can cause life-threatening conditions or even blindness as the infected person can transfer the virus from the lips to other parts of the body including the eyes (a process also called self-inoculation). It can lead to conjunctivitis or keratitis in the eyes and this can worsen, especially if the patient continues to rub the eye at the point of injury.

The drugs to treat heartburn were combined by researchers, led by Professor Martin Michaelis of the School of Biosciences, with acyclovir on cell cultures. The researchers found that they reduced the spread of the aforementioned virus in cells and the maximum effect was caused by omeprazole.
“The combination of these two drugs could significantly improve the broader treatment of the herpes simplex virus,” says Martin Michaelis of the University of Kent.

Martin Hill

An accomplished journalist and freelancer, Martin has held a long career in media and has worked for numerous different agencies. He was an editor for the Arizona Business Gazette for over 10 years before joining the Tucson Weekly (tucsonweekly.com) and founding Hplex Science News, a new publication with the aim of reporting on science news over the internet. Beyond having extensive writing and research experience, Martin is also a science enthusiast with a passion for science and technology. In his younger life, he had studied mechanical engineering before moving on to journalism.
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602-769-4516
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Martin Hill
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Science

Bacteria engineered to save bees from viruses and pests

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Bacteria genetically modified to protect bees from the deadly tendency that is characterizing them and that is worrying not only the scientific world. Even in the United States, honey bee colonies are decreasing so much that, during last winter, beekeepers had to give up more than 40% of their colonies, the highest rate since surveys began 13 years ago.

Nancy Moran, Professor of Integrative Biology, is working with colleagues to engineer particular strains of bacteria to be introduced into the bowels of honeybees. These bacteria act as “biological factories”: they trigger the immune system of bees to protect themselves from the deformed wing virus, one of the two main causes of their collapse together with varroa mites, parasites of bees. These two conditions very often come together: the more the mites feed on bees, the more the virus spreads, which makes bees increasingly vulnerable to various pathogens in the environment.

This is a method that is not as complex as it might appear: the engineering of bacteria in the laboratory, once the method is completed, is not at all prohibitive, just as it is not prohibitive to inoculate them into the body of bees by causing them to spread into colonies. The implication of such a method is direct, as Moran herself states. It is also the first time that the bee microbiome has been genetically engineered to improve bee health.

During the tests, bees with the engineered bacterium in their bodies showed a 36.5% higher probability of surviving after 10 days than control bees. At the same time, Varroa mites feeding on bees treated with the engineered bacterium were about 70% more likely to die by day 10 than mites feeding on control bees.

Martin Hill

An accomplished journalist and freelancer, Martin has held a long career in media and has worked for numerous different agencies. He was an editor for the Arizona Business Gazette for over 10 years before joining the Tucson Weekly (tucsonweekly.com) and founding Hplex Science News, a new publication with the aim of reporting on science news over the internet. Beyond having extensive writing and research experience, Martin is also a science enthusiast with a passion for science and technology. In his younger life, he had studied mechanical engineering before moving on to journalism.
---
602-769-4516
[email protected]
Martin Hill
Continue Reading
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