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Artificial Intelligence to Predict Odors

By Friedrich-Alexander ­niversity Erlangen-Nurnberg (Germany)

December 19, 2016

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Researchers at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nurnberg (FAU) in Germany are working on the Computer Linguistics for Olfaction project, which aims to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) application that can predict which molecule structures will produce or suppress specific odors.

As part of the project, the researchers have developed a database that pools knowledge about the molecular structure of fragrances and aromas. "We use computer linguistics for this purpose," says FAU researcher Thilo Bauer. "It's similar to processing language; the program is supposed to understand odor molecules as a sentence in which the molecule fragments represent the words."

The researchers plan to use pattern-recognition technology to make reliable predictions about the creation of odors, thus making time-consuming trial-and-error experiments unnecessary.

"In the cosmetics industry, many thousands of molecules are synthesized and tested for their scent every year. Only a few of them ever make it onto the market," Bauer says. "Our program could help to make the development of new products more effective and resource-efficient."

From Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nurnberg (Germany)
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