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WCLM 2021: Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the Future of Chemistry

Join Us for a Global Discussion on the Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the Future of Chemistry: An Innovative Format for 2021 World Chemistry Leadership Meeting

Certainly the last eighteen months have been a roller coaster ride for all of us. Zoom, Go-to-Meeting, Webex, and other video-teleconferencing tools – perhaps not routinely used in the past have become extensions of our technological skills and for the most part are used on a daily (if not hourly!) basis. As you probably know by now, it has been determined that the 2021 IUPAC World Chemistry Congress (WCC) will be a purely virtual event due to the worldwide pandemic. Rather than consider this to be a negative outcome, it was decided to leverage this as an opportunity to do something unique and innovative that will allow the World Chemistry Leadership Meeting (WCLM) to reach a much larger portion of the global scientific community than is the norm at an in-person meeting. So here is what is currently planned.

First, the WCLM has a very forward-looking topic – the Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the Future of Chemistry*. Six general topics will be discussed at events around the globe:

  • Discovery: Processes and Tools of the Future;
  • Determination: Candidates for Process Development and Optimization;
  • Development: Products and services using AI in the Future;
  • Impact: R&D Laboratories and Instrumentation of the Future;
  • Information: Informatics, Datasets and Curation of the Future; and 
  • Insight: Analysis and Modeling Chemical Research of the Future

The unique aspect of the WCLM will be the format. This event will be a twenty-four-hour worldwide discussion, beginning with a live kick-off in Montréal, Canada at 8:00 am EDT on August 17, 2021, with opening remarks and a plenary lecture by Yoshua Bengio, Founder and Scientific Director of Mila – Quebec AI Institute. The WCLM will then be handed off to Malaysia (the site of the 2025 WCC) where the discussion will continue. This will be followed by a hand-off to The Netherlands (site of the 2023 WCC) for further discussion, and then the WCLM will return to Montréal, Canada for the closing session with a wrap-up panel and a lecture by Jeremy Frey, Head of Computational Systems Chemistry and Principal Investigator for the AI Scientific Discovery Network at the University of Southampton.

The timeline will look like this:

Event Montréal (EDT) Netherlands (CEST) Malaysia (MYT)
Opening program 8:00am, August 17, 2021 2:00pm, August 17, 2021 8:00pm, August 17, 2021
Malaysia program 9:00pm, August 17, 2021 3:00am, August 18, 2021 9:00am, August 18, 2021
Netherlands program 3:00am, August 18, 2021 9:00am, August 18, 2021 3:00pm, August 18, 2021
Closing program in Montréal 9:00am, August 18, 2021 3:00pm, August 18, 2021 9:00pm, August 18, 2021

Six speakers have been invited. Each will address one of the topics listed earlier via a fifteen-minute video that will be made available to all those registered for the Congress at least one week before the WCLM opens. You will have plenty of time to view the videos in advance if you wish to do so. They will also be live-streamed during the WCLM. During the closing program, all six speakers will present a live five-minute summary of their topic and the floor will then be opened for a Q&A session of about forty-five minutes. The WCLM will then close with a plenary lecture.

It is expected that the live sessions in Malaysia and The Netherlands will also be recorded and made available for viewing by registrants. Also, even though there is limited time during the closing session, the goal is to capture and answer all posted questions with the compilation being made available to Congress registrants.

The objective of this topical and innovative program is to shed some light on how the global community of chemical researchers currently perceive as the challenges and opportunities offered by AI and what that might mean for the future of Chemistry… and of IUPAC.