September 1, 2020 Curiosity leads the way: Andy LaMora on Little Da vincis Podcast

Andy LaMora, Topcoder’s Global Director of Data, Analytics, and AI, recently appeared on the Little Da Vincis podcast to discuss his work at Topcoder. Hosted by 8th grader Christian Amyx, Little Da Vincis is a science and technology podcast made for elementary and middle school kids 

Andy and Christian discuss curiosity, artificial intelligence, and the potential of quantum computing — and how all of that relates to Andy’s work with Topcoder. Hear the discussion and check out highlights below.

Andy starts by explaining how he got into the field of data science and AI, saying that his curiosity is the most important factor in his work, even more important than his technical computer science experience. Curiosity and creativity lead to new solutions for complex problems. Andy shares an example of a Topcoder challenge designed to solve a public interest problem—identifying illegal fishing activity by using weather, telemetry, and ocean current data.

Artificial Intelligence in Medicine

When Christian asks about how artificial intelligence can help solve medical problems, Andy offers a fascinating example of Topcoder’s work in this area. Using historical thoracic scans, the Topcoder community helped a doctor harness AI to remove lung tumors, freeing the doctor to spend more time interacting with his patients. Once it’s finalized, that tool will be able to help doctors anywhere in the world access a new way to treat lung cancer.

As an interesting aside, Andy points out that many AI concepts actually originated in science fiction. Star Trek, for example, envisioned technology solutions that are now becoming a reality.

“I think the best experience anybody can have in anything is being curious about something, having imagination, and building something.”

– Andy LaMora

Quantum Potential

Christian is interested in quantum computing, and Andy explains that it’s still an emerging technology. It has enormous potential, especially in solving complex problems like medical diagnoses, but people are just beginning to develop practical uses for it.

We’re thrilled that Andy was able to participate in this interview by a budding innovator who’s clearly thinking ahead to the future of technology and problem solving. 

Alexa Baray

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