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This Chinese AI firm, propelled by’science for mankind,’ has its sights set on USwrapping a raincheck this year.

As geopolitical tensions rise, many Chinese technology firms are recalibrating their global ambitions, frequently avoiding any mention of their origins. DP Technology, a daring company, stands out from the pack. DP, short for “Deep Potential,” is working to apply artificial intelligence to molecular simulations and thinks that the uniting force of “scientific research for humanity” would pave the path for its worldwide development.

DP, which was founded in 2018 with renowned mathematician Weinan E as its advisor, provides a set of tools to conduct scientific computing, a process in which “computer simulations of mathematical models play an indispensable role in the development of technology and in scientific research,” according to a University of Waterloo definition. Scientific computing can help with anything from medical research to vehicle design to semiconductor development.

While the world is currently obsessed with using AI to generate text, images, and videos, DP is working in uncharted territory: combining machine learning, which allows computers to automatically learn from given data, with molecular simulations, which analyze real-world products and systems using virtual models. When used in tandem, machine learning may increase the speed and accuracy of simulations used to address real-world issues.

“In the past, without a good computing or AI platform, everyone relied on trial and error based on experience.” “That process was frequently referred to as ‘cooking’ or ‘alchemy,'” Sun Weijie, CEO and creator of DP, told Eltrys in an interview.

“This approach was relatively effective in the early stages of industrial development because user expectations for iteration weren’t that high, but now there is a growing demand for [technological] advancements,” he said. “For example, consumers anticipate an increase in battery capacity every year, as well as improved performance from each new generation of vehicles.” The conventional R&D methodology cannot keep up with these fast market developments.”

“A breakthrough in the research and development approach is necessary to keep up with these expectations of rapid iterations,” he went on to say.

To that purpose, DP has created a suite of tools that allow industry participants to more effectively find and develop new items. For one thing, it runs a scientific computing platform that allows simulations of physical qualities like magnetism, optics, and electricity. The results of running these models allow materials such as semiconductors and batteries to be produced more quickly and cheaply. It also has a SaaS platform dedicated to preclinical drug discovery research.

Aside from providing software to industrial researchers and designers, DP goes above and beyond by offering services targeted to their requirements and performing R&D processes for clients who could not otherwise fully use the potential of its instruments.

This combination of SaaS and service business models has seen some early success in China. DP is anticipated to win around 100 million yuan ($14 million) in contracts in 2023, up from “tens of millions of yuan” last year. It is currently preparing to introduce that method to Western nations, where well-funded behemoths like DeepMind rule the sector.

“There’s an old Chinese proverb that says poor children mature early.” “We are the poor kids compared to DeepMind and OpenAI because we have much less funding,” Sun added.

To date, DP has attracted around $140 million from a group of leading Chinese venture capital companies, including Qiming Venture Partners and Source Code Capital. In 2014, Google paid more than $500 million to acquire DeepMind, a 13-year-old company. The London-based AI powerhouse recorded a profit of £44 million ($60 million) in 2020, up from a deficit of £477 million ($650 million) in 2019.

Sun said that, despite its physical headquarters in Beijing, DP was formed with a worldwide attitude due to the DeepModeling open-source scientific computing community it established. Its first presence in China was similarly more by chance than design. “The COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to international exchange, so we decided to just stay put and work on monetization [in China] for the first two years,” Sun stated.

DP’s worldwide growth will begin in the United States, where it will establish an office and collaborate with a partner to offer its goods and services. In order to develop a presence in the new industry, the business plans to use its open source community and attend trade exhibitions in what Sun describes as a “close-knit circle” of fundamental research.

The ongoing decoupling that is dividing the United States and China in many fields, including scientific research, may hinder DP’s global objectives. For example, in August, the Biden administration narrowly extended research cooperation that had supported US-China ties since 1979.

Sun, on the other hand, exhibited confidence in science’s tenacity in the face of geopolitical challenges. Basic science and biopharmaceuticals are both relatively open and inclusive fields that benefit all of humanity. “In comparison, I feel these locations will be alright,” he remarked.

Eltrys Team
Author: Eltrys Team

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