IT-based simulation has become increasingly accurate, expanding its application in automobile design, drug development and other fields. AI will make it easier for simulations to mimic reality while helping reduce calculations. Finally, by supporting the discovery of new materials and proteins, AI will enable new paths in research and development.
The simulation technology, which uses enormous computation power to replicate physical phenomena, and AI, which generates results from data, are changing the ways research and development is conducted, establishing an IT-driven science.
Using logic to calculate and replicate phenomena, simulation can now substitute for actual tests thanks to improvement in computer performance. This enables the tests essential to research and development, such as the measurement of air resistance of an automobile and the verification of drug efficacy, to be completed on the computer. As a result, the speed of development is accelerating.
The use of simulation to substitute for tests is spreading thanks to AI. AI that has learned simulation results as data can generate results equivalent to the original simulation with less amount of calculation. The AI that enables this substitution is anticipated for use in low-cost product development, prediction of disaster damage by local governments, and other situations where a supercomputer is not available.
In addition, AI can use data to unlock unknown phenomena that humans cannot figure out. The steric structures of proteins are difficult to replicate accurately, even with a simulation. The news that AI predicted the structures with the same level of accuracy as an actual test drew a great deal of attention. In the development of new materials, on which experts spend many years, an AI that has learned the data acquired from tests and simulations is just about to be able to find the target material sooner than experts.
IT-driven efforts that combine simulation and AI, and not trial and error that depends on human hunches, experience, and tests, will likely innovate the research and development of materials and drugs in the future.