Towards Neurosymbolic AI: From Knowledge Infrastructure to Explainable Predictions

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Building 2, Level 5, Room 5220


The increased availability of biomedical data, particularly in the public domain, offers the opportunity to better understand human health and to develop effective therapeutics for a wide range of unmet medical needs. However, data scientists remain stymied by the fact that data remain hard to find and to productively reuse because data and their metadata i) are wholly inaccessible, ii) are in non-standard or incompatible representations, iii) do not conform to community standards, and iv) have unclear or highly restricted terms and conditions that preclude legitimate reuse. These limitations require a rethink on data can be made machine and AI-ready - the key motivation behind the FAIR Guiding Principles. Concurrently, while recent efforts have explored the use of deep learning to fuse disparate data into predictive models for a wide range of biomedical applications, these models often fail even when the correct answer is already known, and fail to explain individual predictions in terms that data scientists can appreciate. These limitations suggest that new methods to produce practical artificial intelligence are still needed.

  In this talk, I will discuss our work in (1) building an integrative knowledge infrastructure to prepare FAIR and "AI-ready" data and services along with (2) neurosymbolic AI methods to improve the quality of predictions and to generate plausible explanations. Attention is given to standards, platforms, and methods to wrangle knowledge into simple, but effective semantic and latent representations, and to make these available into standards-compliant and discoverable interfaces that can be used in model building, validation, and explanation. Our work, and those of others in the field, creates a baseline for building trustworthy and easy to deploy AI models in biomedicine.

Brief Biography

Dr. Michel Dumontier is the Distinguished Professor of Data Science at Maastricht University, founder and executive director of the Institute of Data Science, and co-founder of the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) data principles. His research explores socio-technological approaches for responsible discovery science, which includes collaborative construction of multi-modal knowledge graphs, privacy-preserving distributed data mining, and methods for drug discovery and personalized medicine. His work is supported through the Dutch National Research Agenda, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, 4 Horizon Europe projects, a Marie-Curie Innovative Training Network, and one grant from the US National Institutes of Health. He is the editor-in-chief for the journal Data Science and is internationally recognized for his contributions in bioinformatics, biomedical informatics, and semantic technologies including ontologies and linked data.  Prof. Dumontier is on sabbatical as a Visiting Researcher at KAUST until the end of April 2023.

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