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Teenager builds cancer detecting artificial brain

The second annual Google Science Fair, a science talent competition for kids ages 13 to 18, was held this month in Palo Alto, California. This year’s winner, 17-year-old Brittany Wenger, wrote a cloud-based computer program that makes breast cancer detection less invasive. She called it the “Global Neural Network Cloud Service for Breast Cancer.” Wenger created computer programs coded to think like the human brain and then used them to locate mass malignancy in breast tissue samples.

Traditional methods of finding mass malignancy use a minimally invasive, but painful, biopsy called a fine needle aspirate (FNA). Analyzing tissues collected with this method isn’t always effective and sometimes results in further invasive procedures. Wegner tested her method with 7.6 million trials to see how accurately it would detect cancerous tumors. It succeeded with a 97.4 percent success rate in prediction and 99.1 percent sensitivity to malignancy when analyzing samples collected from FNA. Employing this data to a cloud service could make it possible for doctors to assess tumors without employing more invasive testing.

For winning the competition, Wegner received $50,000, a trip to the Galapagos Islands and one year of mentoring and internship opportunities. As for her future, Wegner said in a recent interview that she plans to major in computer science in college and attend medical school.

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Jim Marsh
Just occasionally, youngsters like this make cracks in the carefully created carapace of prejudice I have against modern youth.
Well done to her.
This should be an inspiration to all young people across the world; not just for today, but hopefully for at least the next 30 years!
Exactly... we need such women/men... more than Zuckenberg or Jobs genius guys...
Young are more hunting and researching for forthcoming problems and keeping their concern high for solutions . congrats .
morgs p
the person below me is an idiot
The acrticle is really crap.... What does she test now and how?

"Traditional methods of finding mass malignancy use a minimally invasive, but painful, biopsy called a fine needle aspirate (FNA)."

And now:
"....when analyzing samples collected from FNA."
That was the control group. What they don't say is what she analyses instead, for which she has 97.4% success.
I discussed this post with 1 person in a hangout.
I liked the post, but hated the article.

"The cloud service is hosted in the Google App Engine." Yep, we have a winner here.
Smart pup! ... good, pretty innovative idea too.
Read the Article twice and still don't understand what she accomplished beyond writing a  "Cloud" program.

Did she actually change the way the cancer test for the patient is done? Or did she she just look at the data from 9 Million current samples?

Did she invent a way a new way to take samples from a patient or not?
Commentless talent...and she looks so  so sweat
Bright girl. We need more people in the world that think outside the box for such positive things.
wow, this is soo awesome,a 17 year old tew er, hmmm may God continue tuh bless her wid His knowledge, wisdom, and understanding  you go grl!!
all d way awesomentz :D
+Race Vanderdecken Im looking at her slide's and i really don't know. The input she get's are awsers on questions of a doctor. And than she learned a ann's to give her the correct output she needed to win a Google Science Fair. You can call this a "input to price money" mapping system.
Great! She is brilliant.
That is great for her from her Experience and research... I give a kudos
May Satan, the Easter Bunny, and Flying Spaghetti Monster continue to bless her for the betterment of human existence. Amen.
+Roger Keulen I do not want to belittle this young lady but if all she did was look at the data differently and used a "cloud" program to do it then she may have won the contest but the Article and the majority of the comments here are poorly written as to what she actually accomplished.

Boo on for obfuscating her work.
We need more people like her in the world.
Well, some girls have everything. She's beautiful, she's brilliant and she's american. Plus she's bringing help to detecting a F#ck/n@ disease. 10 pts.
Outstanding achievement for one so young! She should be lauded far and wide for her contribution to medical science. Hardiest congratulations to Brittany Wenger!
That's just amazing. I'm so envy of people with so great talent and the capabilities to actually use it for the greater good... She will probably sky rocket in an early state of her career!
U GO MS. Brittany Wenger! ... it wasn't here for my mother, but it CAN BE for someone elses!!!!  Very Blessed to know of up & coming young men & women that are doing GREAT THINGS!!!
I'm glad to listen news about people interesting in look for solutions to detect the cancer.
Inspires hope in a people esp. ehen it's by youth...!
if you are with me all the time all will be happy all the time
+Stephon King She is just filling in what she wants the awnser to be. So for example if the training sample A says it has to be a "Yes", she trains the system so that it will give a "Yes". But your training set has to be labeld and has to be right.
Wow most excellent work.thumps up for the young genius
Well done! Probably deserves a lot more than 50 thou. Hope she goes far. Just the kind of people this world needs right now!
Yeah!!! A good positive story about a young person doing good in the world..... There is hope!
For those that hate the discovery article hit the MSNBC source article in the link.
+Japi Auer "Well, some girls have everything. She's beautiful, she's brilliant and she's american. Plus she's bringing help to detecting a F#ck/n@ disease. 10 pts."

No, She isn't helping detecting a disease. The DOCTOR still has to awnser questions. And the SYSTEM doen't detect of this are good questions or if is a correct awnser. So it's has more to do with statistics.
"For those that hate the discovery", Yep that would be me !
Excellent! Glad to see a teenager working on something meaningful instead of just spending time on Facebook and Instagram.
2 things. Like S.H.I.E.L.D, that also needs a shorter name ^_^.
Second: feed that brain some more! 

If she is doing this @ 17, I would like to see what she is making by the age of 30.
Lots of luck to her and I'm sure she will go far in life. I agree she deserves alot more than 50 thou...
My son says: "Yeah, but is she any good at WoW?" ಠ_ಠ
awesome brain for u to find a artificial brain
If it can help save lives I hope it gets industry and medical support - go girl!
Its sad to see the ignorant fools on here too cynical to realize that this could open the door to other, better methods for examining other, more painful diseases. Those fools can only see 2 feet in front of their own faces. This is truly a gifted youth. As for the cynics, "Well the world needs ditch diggers too."
hey nice dear. very lovely, off course fantastic  
Now we just have to figure out how to restore the damaged genes
This young lady has a great future in front of her & should inspire other youth. Good luck to you.
+Caleb Carl "here too cynical to realize that this could open the door to other, better methods for examining other, more painful diseases."

Yeah, you only need a good doctor than give the system the right input. (Thats all)
Good German brain in there working.  I don't know about 'blessing.' It's about hard work.  Used to think we were here for a reason.  Now I realize it is reasonable that we are here. This is proof girls do excellent science.  We need her brain in medicine.
Goddamn, that Jeebus invented everything, di'n he?
What an impressive young lady, I am in awe!
This is so inspiring...! We need to stop and think for a moment her good intentions and the immense possibilities and opportunities...
Excellent job young lady. This country needs more of this again.
That is brilliant!  Impressive use of technology.
Finally we have women in the technology field making huge strides!!  Let's keep it up!!!
+Roger Keulen Again, 2 feet in front of your face. You sound like an old dog that cannot be taught new tricks. Doctors are more effective today because of more ingenuitive methods and better education to utilize those methods. Even if this is useless by your standards, its forward motion in the field of Bio Informatics and will open other doors doctors can use to perform procedures better, detect diseases faster, and help people live longer, more comfortably. A doctor cannot perform perfect surgery without the right tools. Your argument is invalid.
Sometimes youth have an advantage because they don't carry the assumptions of what cannot be done as we older folks do.  Good for her!

Also I've seen some comments that her contribution was small.  At least she contributed.  She's contributed more to science than I have in my entire life.  Good for her!
+Robert Varga I think it just means the architecture is an artificial neural network, not necessarily SkyNet.
this is quite remarkable and even more coming from a teenager.
this is quite remarkable and even more coming from a teenager.
this is quite remarkable and even more coming from a teenager.
Wow i never thought my teachers were right when they said the next generation would change the future.
I wonder about the back story here; like how she got into programming, and did she have a close relative with breast cancer that motivated her work?
She has a bright future ahead of her, congrats & nice work!
it s a good start , but we need to focus more on preventive  medicine  and innovation as opposed to detection , not taking away fro her , at least  some thing is being donr
I heard about this on a podcast I listen to. It is pretty impressive indeed. I really hope she continues her career in this field. She could help a whole lot of people as she continues to mature. 
Why doesn't stuff like this make the headline news more? I hope to see it on the news soon. She deserves the recognition. 
+Caleb Carl Give up mark... You don't who "Teuvo Kohonen" is, nor do you have a eduction in artificial neural networks" like me.

Just like there is only one 'American' that has wone a gold medal at the International Mathematical Olympiad (from 1958). But if you think a 17 year old that can use a calculator and refactor a `normal` BPN to a BPN that runs on a cloud 'Amazing'. Ok, than she must be amazing than. But the Azian and Rusian childern are thinking: 'Gradient descent' that's so 1980's!
Sounds like your least she working towards assisting the Dr's with identifying the cancer..maybe you could put your talents to use and do something similar instead of complaining. Do you really think that she would have won the contest if your explanation was believable?..give credit where credit is due!
Exactly what the world needs right now. A bit of hope for the future!!
Great effort and great mind of the young lady! God bless you always...
I think this student should probably get ready for grad school.  I think courses in university (college) might just slow her down.  This is great to see, congratulations to her!
Remarkable! As a four-time cancer survivor, the hope of the future is in the youth like Brittany.
Her creativity speaks to break frontiers; breaking the bubble of those who cannot dream because insomnia.
Something about this article does not sit well with me. I have a general gut feeling that it is not completely truthful. First how did she get access to the samples. Second there is no way she created this alone there had to be people behind her. Third how was the machine able to test so many times for results and how long did this actually take in real time. I am all for the youth of tomorrow creating marvels but I will remain skeptical until those that are herald geniuses are proven without a shadow of a doubt to be just that.
"We need to stop and think for a moment her good intentions and the immense possibilities"

The immense possibilities with 10 questions and 10 different awnsers = 10 x 10 = 100 ! (But all the people except google already know this)
Brittany Wegner - a name to watch.  This is fantastic.  I love how new generations come in with a completely new way of thinking and solving problems.  It gives me the greatest hope for the future.
+Roger Keulen Mark? I work in this field. Great minds with potential are of every ethnicity, however, you bashing this young mind who is being recognized for being genuinely exceptional shows that unfortunately, all your "intelligence" has not served you well, but rather filled a shallow vessel. If what she did wont directly affect today's procedures, it will through indirect means - you would be wise to see the long-term and the potential. Continue to try and use a screwdriver as a hammer.
Yes biopsies are done but with this method...."FNA"...."Analyzing tissues collected with this method ISN'T ALWAYS EFFECTIVENESS and SOMETIMES RESULTS in FURTHER INVASIVE procedures...... EMPLOYING THIS DATA to a cloud serviced could make it POSSIBLE for doctors to ASSESS tumors WITHOUT employing MORE INVASIVE testing." this is what she has Aimed her Research at...I Believe she has done an Excellent job at opening a safer and more advanced way of detecting Cancer.....just my thoughts and opinion.:-)
Glad to see such success from youth. Glad to see someone working on something other than an app to check in with their friends.
+Caleb Carl So, you work in what field: 'medicine' just like the rest of the post also think mapping the anwser has to do something with 'medicine'. Or do you actually know math and working with 'ANN''s ?

And if you do, what do you think of using "Neural backpropagation" in a project and don't tell how you exactly do the 'supervised' learning. And how to prevent 'Overfitting', not a word. So i don't think she actual know what she's made. Otherwise she would talk about it.
Gotta love auto correct....not....Effective not Effectiveness .....discovering not openung...omgosh....damn auto :-)
This is amazing! And, what's better, its not some huge corporation's R&D dept that patented it!
if she could throw a football she could make millions
I am very happy for her success. It is hard earned and Google has to be given credit for spotting and recognising such outstanding exceptional innovative mind. God bless her.
+Roger Keulen This is ridiculous. This isn't even about me. Your sentences don't have any continuity to the point where I think you are asking my opinion but I'm really not sure. The main point here, is that this person is being recognized for being exceptional, creating something that can contribute to society. If you cannot recognize her intelligence, I question your ability to evaluate the quality of your own.

Nevertheless, she is plenty beyond her years in ANN's alone. Not to mention, I'm confident in saying that half of six figures would not have been handed over without skepticism by experts; especially an idea or invention in the medical field.
Keep it up! I read the gist of what your program is capable of and I am blown away! Great job!
All of the happy dolts here show you how lacking in basic understanding most people are. The article is crap.
what ever she seeks to do we wish her well! success and insperation!
I have to agree with Aaron
How can you guys say that the article is crap, do you have any proof to justify your claim that this isn't true then we will believe you?
+Caleb Carl Ok, than you say what was wrong with the other 3 commercial networks? (Bij just reading the slides)
The world needs such inventions if it help any way possible to battle CANCER!...
Good Work ! ....Brittany....:)
+ronnie sabaldan There is more between crap and not true. Yes, she wone 50.000 that's true. But i really don't know with wat. Only i know there 20 slides that try to tell me what she made. And she tells that her system is better than 3 other systems. How her system works or who build the other system she doesn't tell. If you have a system that learns, you proberly gene tell how the learning algoritm works. But she forget to submit i think... or there are some slides missing..
What an inspiration--for doing something with technology that will help a lot of people.
Damn, and I thought Doogie Howser, M.D. was too much fiction... :(
Wow! Maybe you should say what you really think.
Thanks Brittany for your efforts & concentration on this job! I have been treated for Thyroid carcinoma in city Mumbai, country India. I know how badly cancer patients are treated in under-developed or developing countries. You have given a chance to heartless people to think before they could hurt helpless ones. It's a great job....Congrats!!
fantastic. can't even imagine writing such detailed and extensive coding. very impressive, Brittany. very impressive indeed.
Good for you. Far to many children today do not see the need for college. When I was in school college was the first thing I wanted to do when I graduated from high school. I am sure you will do well. Good luck.
News like that make me feel more hopeful towards the future of humanity. You rock, girl! 
Good work,for this case  I have to do something...why not me?
Vry impressive work, she need to be given encouragement frm evry work of life.
David Robertson... your an idiot... stop talking and do something better then. "Old fashion biopsy" huh? You must either be a doctor that doesn't want to see a computer take you job or just an idiot that just needs to shut his mouth.
Impressive work for a 17 year old. I used Neural Networks on my Game Development degree but they were nowhere near as successful as this. My neural network was for path finding but they were pretty awful at it lol.
marvelous job n at da sme tym she s beautful..
Nwys has nybdy done resrch on bringng bk virginity..:-)
keep up the good work. ur all wishes r going to be true.
"You must either be a doctor that doesn't want to see a computer take you job or just an idiot that just needs to shut his mouth."

The `system` uses awnser's from a doctor to translate to a diagnose.
So like: 10%-80%-30%-5%-80% => 80% (cancer) / 20% (normal)

But still you need the doctor and the analysis of the tissue. It's a expert system.
+Robert Settle "My neural network was for path finding but they were pretty awful at it".....
What kind of NN dit you use? Back-Prop?
My question is "what do we do to encourage kids like this that have the potentials like her but have no opportunity to show their talents" What do we even do, to encourage those who are already showcased like this young lad, to do more exploits"?
Weldon my baby girl.
+NGWU NORBERT "no opportunity to show their talents"
I think there is mutch more opportunity in holland now than 20 years ago, to being able to show your talents.
Every Human Being. born in love and affection, without hunger, in a supportive environment, with good schooling and in a free society, has the potential to be another Einstein, DaVinci and a Brittany Wenger.  Sadly, it is doubtful every child on the Planet will live to realize his/her full potential.
No comment about all your opinion,we had deff. Thinking!
Amazing to c wat the youth can do...juss like me:)
that is awesome, we need more inventive minds like this.  shows promise for our youth, who all too often are tagged as being apathetic
To all you nay sayers. Even if all she did was enhance the way testing of samples is done and achieved a higher accuracy of detection that is an awesome feat. That means less women will needlessly have to have a more invasive procedure for a false positive let alone having cancer and knowing without doing another test. Kudos in my book.
I hope the criminals on Wall Street dont recruit her... They seem to be snatching up all the talent
where does she live ???????????????????????
The world needs the new generation that is like Brittany...
Met her at the science fair. Impressed. And I am glad a computing project won first prize this time.
i am tongether with shelby carver where a you come from??????
Wow. Makes my ridiculous science project look like discovering a "stupid" sticker on your forehead!!
Thanks and blessing to ppl like her for working in positive things for humanity...may god keep guiding you!
This is great and hope more positive things will be invented. Bravo Miss Wenger.
Wow!! Couldn't find any words more than "wow". Girl, keep it up.
I like to think that I am your basic computer guru, but I have no idea what I just read. That is AWESOME!
yes this is the word "wow" keep it up
Absolutely amazing! Good news in what seems to be dark times.
So how is she collecting data for analysis? Same as before?
Really she's done the excellent job......!!! Hats off
Congrats Brittany..may the Lord richly bless you and use you in promoting health.
"she plans to major in computer science in college and attend medical school" is a brilliant plan...
Thank god there are genius youngsters out there who give us hope for the future. We need more youngsters to put their minds to good use. 
I discussed this post with 1 person in a hangout.
Good on google for funding this.that ethic is why I love Droid and g. The lady is a genius. To be young enough to question the impossible, before society imprints its boundaries
and that ladies and gentlemen is how you do it!
I don't u derstand the breakthrough here. Either the article is very poorly written or she just found another use for neural networks based on some very expensive cloud infrastructure that she didn't help build. nothing that impressive. dunno. congratz for the prize anyway.
that's great am short of words, all i can say is that thanks a lot, move forward and u make it in future. may JEHOVAH's name be praise
so awsome, as some whohad to here from my doctor "Ms Kennedy you have cancer " It A Great News To Hear". congrads to all
Wow.  Good for her.  This girl has made a drastic change in cloud computing and in medicine.  
And here we are with our pre-teens at burger king playing with happy meals.
It's awesome what she did. She's going places.
To all of you who don't understand the importance of cloud computing in medical research, just for starters, among the key benefits are faster time to research results based in part on "crowd sourcing" health data. See Wired magazine, issue 18.07, July 2010, Sergey Brin's Search for a Parkinson's Cure.
God bless you. Thank you for your hard work. I pray god will guide you life's work. Thank you 
that sounds good,cancer is awful ,killed many women I know close friends also.
She did what at 17? Wrote a cloud based computer program? TALENT!
i like peaple who do that and try to help others like that because of her she might of just saved a life or more
No word could express this helps with the chievement early time and knowledge a book worm .cool.
Zuckenberg not achved ment jast invest n other thnk to play to his own advancment , life like to help other n heath n well being n read ing you orbs. Is . Grate for a world top n my book at her age she has land did on the moon and mythological speaking, totaly cool. 17 new beginning she A grade blue cap ,
Keep up the good work your in the same category as Lister, Blackwell , Fleming. God bless you.
Would save all the gess work n mindread ng to other family last name s world ly histroy n toward s ly hands down testing n labes the brain s your mira. nuralogical. Radio micowavng ,evey one would sher n young er age grate words can not express acivement ,tjohn.corr. Vear nice swee a .
@ david robertson glad said something like this.. seeing as how your a man. Douchebag move.
This girl s GOD gifted to this world and wish her more gifted from god to come for her 
How awesome, God gave you a great brain to learn and develop these ideas. Way to go in seeing this project through i can see God will bless and reward you. Im sure you will become a outstanding doctor or scientist in the years to come.
Dont pay attention to the many downers who have written negative comments they are just jealous they didnt do it first you rock girl...
Awesome kiddo exactly you are God gifted praise Him for that and there many more to come in the years ahead God Bless you
Definatelly a great work in order to benefit the medicine using informatic technology. Congratulations!!!
Why can't some people shut up and just give the girl lots of credit for what she did, or are you just jealous Mr Robertson. 
I guess I will never understand why so many commenters either think they are speaking directly to the young lady pictured, and/or who think it's ok to discuss her in a sexual way. She's a minor for crying out loud.

Grow up, or keep it to yourself. Or both.
Wow amazing she makes me feel dumb man i hope our children can grow up to be like this one day truly amazing lost for words lol
Hope it works to help end this disease for all
good for her, we need all the help we cagn get
I like so much
thanks  a lot from your
I can looked at a crying picture that make me laught but I can't ever look at a laughing picture who make me cry.
I can looked at a crying picture that make me laught but I can't ever look at a laughing picture who make me cry.
I can looked at a crying picture that make me laught but I can't ever look at a laughing picture who make me cry.