From left: Kela Roberts (Broad Institute), Xianjun Dong (BWH), Yang Wang (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) and Walid Abdelmoula (BWH)

I knew it would be a shining moment when an idea began to formulate my mind back in September. I was reading Yuval Harari’s new book about how artificial intelligence (AI) will fundamentally change our life, shepherding in the fourth industrial revolution. Instead of worrying about being ill-equipped for this radical transformation, why not prepare for the change via hands-on workshops? This fall, the Brigham’s Bioinformatics Club did exactly that in hosting our first AI Camp.

We invited 26 expert speakers in AI and machine learning to help researchers, innovators, clinicians and trainees practice writing AI code using Keras and TensorFlow; get hands-on experience with applications of AI in genomics, pathology, radiology and clinical data; and, lastly, participate in an open discussion of the challenges and upcoming opportunities of AI in medicine.

I know AI is popular, but I never expected it so popular. All 860 tickets to our AI Camp sold out in one day. While 73 percent of participants were from Brigham, we also saw graduate students, research fellows, postdocs and doctors from other local institutions. We received lots of praise about how helpful the event was, and people were eager to attend another round next year.

The camp’s events took place over two months. Looking back, I think all the hard work paid off. All the late nights I spent contacting speakers and designing the T-shirts, posters, website, etc., was worthwhile.

I launched the Bioinformatics Club in 2017 initially just for my group, but it has since expanded to the whole Longwood area, now boasting over 300 members. Over the last two years, we have provided 70 bioinformatics talks and served over 2,000 participants in the Brigham community. The AI Camp represented the culmination of this work, and I believe we will continue to grow and improve in 2020.

I would like to thank three co-organizers of this event (Kela Roberts, Yang Wang and Walid Abdelmoula, pictured above), the sponsors of Bioinformatics Club (Brigham Research Institute and the Precision Neurology Program), all speakers and participants, and many staff who helped us, including Audiovisual Services, administrative assistants and more. Without your support, we would not be here. Thank you, and see you next year!

Xianjun Dong, PhD
Director, Computational Neuroscience, Precision Neurology Program
Founder, Bioinformatics Club (