The bold vision of positively impacting our planet is what first sparked my interest in Inari, but it was this organization’s inspired execution that made me take the leap to join.
I joined Inari from IBM, where I spent the last two decades leading innovation in artificial intelligence and cloud computing. Arriving without a background in agriculture, I am continually impressed at the way Inari embraces thinkers from all disciplines. It’s energizing to join forces with industry veterans and fellow newcomers to look at old problems through new lenses, thinking together about how to interleave data and computing with biological systems to help us move faster and with more accuracy in our journey toward better seeds for people and the planet.
Like it has been throughout my career, data is both the backbone and the directional guide for this organization. Each step of the Inari R&D process produces data, but this data – which ranges in type and complexity – only serves you if you know how to use it. What matters? What can we learn? What’s missing? Answering these questions is where our expertise in data and machine learning comes in. Parsing this fast-growing volume of information and mixing it in with public data in this domain can help us answer crucial questions like which genes to edit, which edits will have the biggest impact and which genetic lines are the most amenable to being edited.
Historically, scientists and breeders would have had to rely on time-consuming trial and error to test a hypothesis, wait for plants to grow and confirm they are headed in the right direction. Our aim is to largely put that in the past by using models and software that predict and simulate.
The latest advances in computer hardware, the availability of large genomic data sets and advances in algorithms are making it possible to use machine learning to drastically speed up breeding and editing pipelines. By running computer models of trials that would be otherwise impossible because of the vast amount of possible combinations, we are constantly enabling better decisions, better designs and more confidence in a new product’s performance in a fraction of the time.
Plus, thanks to the power of artificial intelligence, our systems – as well as all of us at Inari – will only continue to get faster and smarter.