For more than a century, pathologists have identified cancer by looking at slides con- taining tissue stained with dyes to make the malignant cells more visible. Spotting aberrant cells among healthy ones is similar in spirit to
recognizing familiar faces or objects in pictures.
“Our brains are very good at recognizing patterns
in images,” says physician and epidemiologist
Peter Gann of the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“And basically what [pathologists] do is instanta-
neous pattern recognition.”
Researchers at Radboud University Medical Center
in Nijmegen, Netherlands, organized a contest in
2016 intended to improve on this ability to recognize
patterns—using artificial intelligence. The contest,
called CAMELYON16, was designed not only to