Cheng Soon Ong

Machine Learning Guided Design for Genomics

The scientific method (of Francis Bacon) is about 400 years old, and CSIRO is figuring out what future scientific research looks like, and what are future scientific instruments. Machine learning is often used to analyse large datasets in science and society, with the goal of increasing our knowledge about underlying processes. However, the process of scientific discovery is an interplay between going from data to knowledge and going from knowledge to data.

This talk focuses on this second (often forgotten) view: How can we use a machine learning predictor, that captures the knowledge we have, to decide what, where and when to measure. Using an example of designing genomic sequences for improving gene expression, we will explore how to use a class of machine learning algorithms to guide the design of experiments. The research is enabled by recent advances in synthetic biology as well as machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Dr Cheng Soon Ong

Director, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Future Science Platform
Data61, CSIRO and adjunct at Australian National University

Cheng Soon Ong is a principal research scientist at the Machine Learning Research Group, Data61, CSIRO, and is the director of the machine learning and artificial intelligence future science platform at CSIRO. He is also an adjunct associate professor at the Australian National University. He is interested in enabling scientific discovery by extending statistical machine learning methods.
His PhD in Computer Science was completed at the Australian National University in 2005. He was a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute of Biological Cybernetics and the Fredrich Miescher Laboratory in Tübingen, Germany. From 2008 to 2011, he was a lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at ETH Zurich, and in 2012 and 2013 he worked in the Diagnostic Genomics Team at NICTA in Melbourne. Since 2014, Cheng Soon is researching ways to enable scientific discovery by extending statistical machine learning methods with the Machine Learning Research Group in Data61, CSIRO in Canberra. Prior to his PhD, he researched and built search engine and Bahasa Malaysia technologies at Mimos Berhad, Malaysia. He obtained his B.E. (Information Systems) and B.Sc. (Computer Science) from the University of Sydney, Australia.

Twitter: @ChengSoonOng