Recommender Systems

I have just come back from some time away from Cambridge. During my travels, I learnt about John Riedel’s work (University of Minnesota). John works on recommender systems – those pieces of software that are resposible for suggesting products to you that the software thinks are interesting for you based on, for example, a prior purchase history.

That got me thinking…wouldn’t it be great to have recommender systems for chemistry? Imagine you search for a synthetic procedure such as a polymerization, in a knowledgebase. Not only would it give you the procedure you were looking for, but also ask you which starting materials you would like to use in your synthesis etc, so that a system could, for example, suggest more appropriate conditions for your particular starting material than those contained in the generic procedure.

Or even better, a synthesis gets blogged on the web, such as in Org Prep Daily or in Useful Chem Experiments a recommender system could go out, trawl the web and check for other similar procedures and return alternative suggestions?

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