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7 December, 2017 - 14:12 By Tony Quested

Cambridge University spin-out magnifies the power of AI

A new Cambridge University spin-out whose software magnifies the power and potential of Artificial Intelligence across a raft of innovation plays is charting a fast-growth scale-up strategy after receiving crucial seed and angel funding.

Intellegens could prove one of the most influential players on the planet in driving the convergence of key technologies plugging into the AI revolution.

The startup has secured an unspecified amount of cash from Cambridge Enterprise and angel investor Graham Snudden. Snudden was co-founder and VP Engineering at BlueGnome, a specialist in the screening of genetic abnormalities associated with developmental delay, cancer and infertility, which was acquired by US giant Illumina in 2012.

Intellegens, which is set to move into the Barclays’ Eagle Labs incubator in Cambridge, has developed proprietary algorithms which allow neural networks to be trained on a fragmented or incomplete database.

Intellegens has already successfully deployed its code in two diverse applications – drug discovery and material design – where it has significantly cut customers’ costs by reducing the number of experiments, shortening development cycles and offering accelerated time-to-market.

Business Weekly can reveal that the company is already in talks with multinationals in addition to potential local clients so literally has the world at its feet via global markets.

The company was founded by Dr Gareth Conduit, a Royal Society Fellow at the Cavendish Laboratory, and Ben Pellegrini – an expert in big data and cloud-based platforms.

The Intellegens approach can be applied to many other data domains. Current opportunities include healthcare, autonomous cars and retail. To enable wider uptake of this approach Intellegens is developing an online portal with additional funding from Innovate UK.

Dr Conduit, CTO and co-founder of Intellegens, said: “This new approach to applying AI to incomplete databases enables us to analyse significantly more data than traditional AI approaches, and to develop models that would otherwise be impossible. 

“The approach is particularly relevant to experimental data where we can combine a small number of well-characterised records – typically created empirically at significant expense – with big fragmented databases, enabling us to infer high-value information. 

“Having gained commercial validation with research partners in fields as diverse as aero engines, semi-conductor and battery technology and oil and gas, we’re very excited about the broad range of commercial opportunities available.”

Elaine Loukes, investment manager at Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds, said: “The Intellegens approach has already delivered impressive results, and we believe that it could provide compelling benefits in many other AI applications.”

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Ben Pellegrini and Dr Gareth Conduit

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