National Geographic

Personalized Medicine: Taming the Big Data Ocean

The idea of personalized medicine is very simple. Your doctor peruses your genome to tailor your medical treatment. If you get cancer, she compares the genome of your tumor cells to your ordinary genome.

But in between idea and practice are rough waters yet to be crossed. That’s because the genome doesn’t speak for itself. Instead, we will probably need the help of computers with a human-like power to learn.

For my new “Matter” column in the New York Times, I take a look at this challenge, on the occasion of a new study being launched on brain cancer patients. Helping out the oncologists will be the most famous supercomputer on Earth, Watson, the machine that beat humans on Jeopardy. Check it out.

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