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Pietro Liò on neural networks for better decision-making in cancer.

In the realm of cancer diagnosis, information delays are exceptionally impactful. Pietro Lìo, a full professor of computational biology, together with his group, is developing digital tools to revolutionize how doctors assess and treat cancer as part of the CHARM project.


I am Pietro Lìo, a full professor of computational biology in the Artificial Intelligence Division at the Department of Computer Science and Technology. This department holds the distinction of being the world’s first Department of Computer Science and was where the first electronic computer with memory storage was built.

More recently, I’ve been involved with developing the Raspberry Pi, which I’m very proud of.
I believe that CHARM is allowing me to pursue something of high quality – a combination of cool science, advanced technology, and a solution that will be essential for people with cancer. In the field of cancer, time is of the essence, and we aim to provide surgeons with the tools to make quick decisions by eliminating delays in examining biopsy results.

I lead a group of highly motivated PhD students and field students who are dedicated to implementing the best decision support systems for doctors. Our approach involves leveraging our expertise in graph neural networks integrated with logic and reasoning to create a solution that not only helps doctors understand biopsy results but also assists them in grasping counterfactuals. Our system is designed to be highly interpretable and explainable, allowing doctors to communicate the decision-making process to patients and their families.

This work connects science, technology, and society in a meaningful way. I’ve been involved in numerous European projects, but I truly believe that this project is a “low-hanging fruit” – something attainable and impactful in the near future. Our goal is to provide doctors with the tools they need to make critical decisions in the fight against cancer with speed and accuracy

Professor Lìo is no stranger to the world of cutting-edge technology and science. He is a member of the Artificial Intelligence Division within the Department of Computer Science and Technology in Cambridge, where the first electronic computer with memory storage was developed.

As part of the CHARM project, a groundbreaking initiative in the field of cancer diagnosis and treatment, Pietro and his team are developing a decision support system for doctors. Their computational approach, which prioritizes the clinical needs of physicians, aligns with CHARM’s goal of connecting innovative technologies to cancer research.

Their innovative approach involves using graph neural networks integrated with logic and reasoning, creating a system that not only facilitates the understanding of biopsy outcomes but also helps doctors consider counterfactual scenarios. This unique system is designed to be highly interpretable and explainable, bridging the gap between the medical team and patients and their families by clarifying the decision-making process.

In essence, Professor Pietro Lìo’s work is a fusion of science, technology, and societal impact. His vast experience in European projects has led him to believe that the CHARM project represents a “low-hanging fruit” – a goal that is both achievable and profoundly influential.