How AI is helping us discover materials faster than ever

One way of using AI is to create a “cookbook,” or a collection of recipes for materials. In two papers published late last year, MIT scientists developed a machine-learning system that scans academic papers to figure out which ones include instructions for making certain materials. It could detect with 99 percent accuracy which paragraphs of a paper included the “recipe,” and with 86 percent accuracy the exact words in that paragraph.

The MIT team is now training the AI to be even more accurate. They’d like to create a database of these recipes for the science community at large, but they need to work with the publisher of these academic papers to make sure their collection doesn’t violate any agreements. Eventually, the team also wants to teach the system to read papers and then come up with new recipes on its own.

“One goal is to discover more efficient and cost-effective ways of making materials that we already make,” says study co-author and MIT materials scientist Elsa Olivetti. “Another is, here’s the compound that the computational materials science predicted, can we then suggest a better set of ways to make it?”

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