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NO.347 10.27.2017

Kyung Hee University Spearheads the Development of “Korean AI Physician”

IBM Watson vs human Jeopardy champions & Google AlphaGo vs human Go titleholders


In recently years, humanity has witnessed more and more instances of Artificial Intelligence (AI) besting human champions. AI is increasingly asserting itself into diverse fields of work such as medicine, legal practice, manufacturing, banking, logistics, and more. One of the latest trends is the so-called “AI doctor.” Once the condition of a patient is processed, an AI will diagnose and suggest the best treatment options. This “AI doctor” is IBM Watson, an AI computer system that makes diagnosis based on the data stored on IBM’s cloud service. The biggest drawback is the difficulty involved in maintenance and the high cost. In response to this, 47 universities, hospitals, local governments and other entities in Korea have banded together to develop a “Korean AI doctor.” Kyung Hee University is the main research leader.

Increased approachability and compatibility among medical platforms projected to improve Big Data generation
In June 2017, the research project with the 47 members was chosen as a partner for the Information Technology Research Center (ITRC) support program, managed by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning. This led to the founding of the Intelligent Medical-platform Research Center (IMRC; Director: Sung-Young Lee of the Department of Computer Engineering) on September 19, 2017. ITRC is a publically-funded venture to develop new technologies in the context of academia-industry cooperation that also trains new talents in information communication technology (ICT). The project will receive 2.9 billion KRW until the end of the year 2020.

The center aims to develop an “AI physician” which can support clinical doctors in the course of diagnosis, treatment, and post-treatment care based on a self-evolving medical knowledge database fed by the conversation between patients and physicians. This will require development of new convergent technologies in the areas of ICT and clinical medical science such as AI, Big Data, cloud, and so on.

“Organic cooperation between clinical doctors and ICT experts is critical”
The ITRC selection of this project was in large part due to the excellence of prior research performance involving Director Lee and other researchers. Director Lee was first selected for ITRC in 2006 and has since developed diverse medical and healthcare platforms in the last eight years. In particular, he designed Smart Clinical Decision Support System for Cancer (CDSS) platform in cooperation with Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre (SKMCH) in Pakistan and Seoul National University Bundang Hospital. It is currently going through clinical trials.

In his welcoming speech on the day of opening the center, Director Lee said, “In the last ten years we have developed and accumulated basic technologies for medical platform. What we need now is to import more clinical knowledge and experience from doctors in the field and the patient data. To maximize data intake, we are working very closely with doctors and ICT experts so that doctors will be able to easily digitize their clinical experience into the system.”


The center also trains young talents in intelligent medical convergence technology based on AI, cloud, and Big Data, by opening convergent teaching programs for medicine+AI+ICT with the support from universities, hospitals, and corporations involved in the project. As part of the effort, Kyung Hee University plans to offer a Bachelor’s/Master’s Combined Degree program. .


Biohealth and Future Science Clusters to develop smart care system for Alzheimer’s and senility patients
At the opening ceremony of the center, President Choue said in his welcoming speech, “Recently a consensus is beginning to emerge for an area of cooperative initiative from Biohealth Cluster and Future Science Cluster that it is urgently needed a smart care system that can effectively deal with the rapidly aging society and provide care for patients and their families suffering from Alzheimer’s and senility. The IMRC that has opened its doors today is part of our effort in that direction. The success of this venture, therefore, is a critical linchpin that will lead to a broader expansion of academia-industry cooperative relationship on an international scale.”

Biohealth and Future Science Clusters are part of Kyung Hee’s five Connective Cooperation Clusters (CCC) project. They are at the heart of Kyung Hee’s initiative to strengthen the academic foundation of sustainable civilization and to vitalize the global academia-industry cooperation under the umbrella of Blue Planet 21 in order to tackle intractable public challenges facing local governments, nations, and humanity in general.

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