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The origins of this book began in early 2018 when I was approached by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) as they were interested in a new book on artificial intelligence. Since a significant number of people had a renewed interest in drug discovery applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning at that time, I took on the not insignificant challenge of putting together a comprehensive book proposal that covered some of the most important areas on which we focus in drug discovery and new applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning to these challenges.

As the project progressed the book evolved and adapted as new and interesting approaches emerged from the literature and conferences. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are experiencing a fast moving renaissance at the moment and it was not an insignificant challenge to both set the scene of the field for those new to the area, but also provide enough substance regarding new methods to appeal to those heavily involved in the field. What I believe has resulted is a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of where we are, where we are going, and, not least of which, where we have been. My hope is that this provides a useful opportunity for everyone to become more involved in this area and contribute not only to the development of new applications but also to how we successfully apply and adapt those methods to demonstrate impact on drug discovery as a field.

This book would not exist were it not for the huge amount of work from the contributing authors to this book. I am particularly excited by the balance struck between experienced and early career researchers, reflecting the fast moving and partly nascent aspect of the new advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning. A big thank you to all of the authors and co-authors of each and every chapter, and I hope that the wisdom these chapters impart will inspire new and exciting work to be published in the field.

A huge thank you to the publishers, in particular Drew Gwilliams and Katie Morrey, for doing their best to keep me on track, remind me of various deadlines, and supporting all of the work as editor where I have needed their help.

Lastly, I would like to thank my partner, Lami, for supporting me through this process, and our two cats – Dexter and Sophie – for largely distracting me from writing by complaining for more food or sitting on my laptop. Although I have written and edited a number of books in the past, no book project is like any other and is fraught with unforeseen challenges that require a concerted effort to overcome when they arise and this book is no exception. With a huge amount of support from the contributing authors, publishers, and my friends and family, we finally have a manuscript that is both timely and holistic in scope.


Nathan Brown

London, United Kingdom

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