Brittany Wenger, a 17-year-old science whiz from Florida, has taken the Google Science Fair's top prize with her invention of an artificial brain with an uncanny ability to diagnose breast cancer. "I taught the computer how to diagnose breast cancer," Brittany said. "And this is really important because currently the least invasive form of biopsy is actually the least conclusive, so a lot of doctors can't use them."
Brittany's articicial neural network is a computer program coded to do turbo-charged brain-like thinking, in this case, with the power to detect complex patterns. She built it with Java, deployed it in the cloud, and ran more than 7 million trials. The accuracy of artificial neural networks improves with use. Brittany brought her project to the point of having a greater than 99 percent sensitivity to malignancy. “It will require a little bit of coding and tweaking, but it would be very easy to adapt it so it could diagnose other types of cancer and potentially other medical problems,” Brittany said.