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Mayo Clinic, Others Use ‘AI Factories’ to Speed AI Development

Mayo Clinic and other organizations are using an assembly-line approach to artificial-intelligence development, where small teams use a common set of software tools and procedures to speed the production of AI applications while cutting costs.

The Minnesota-based healthcare provider launched what it calls its AI factory in September and is now getting into full production, with about 60 projects under way, said James Buntrock, vice chair of the department of information technology at Mayo Clinic.

“It’s [a] more consistent process to produce algorithms,” Mr. Buntrock said.

One application in development aims to analyze medical images to identify and classify “biomarkers”—measurable medical signs, such as excess abdominal fat—which could help predict patient health. Mr. Buntrock declined to quantify the speed and cost savings of the AI factory effort, but said they are significant.

The main reason companies are turning to the AI factory model is to increase their success rate with AI, said Erick Brethenoux, a vice president analyst at technology research and advisory firm Gartner Inc.

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