Glossary of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine

A useful dictionary of common terms used in discussing AI in healthcare

Compiled by Vanessa Vu and Anthony C. Chang


Experts predict that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning will increasingly augment clinical decision-making and address many challenges of provider and geographic shortages/mismatches. This future creates a partnership between human and machine to deliver superior outcomes over either alone.  We encourage our readers to review this glossary of artificial intelligence in medicine and become part of this change in healthcare.  This glossary is included in Dr. Chang's e-Book on the topic, available in the AHI MarkITplace.



Accountable Care Organization (ACO)/ Creation of entities to accommodate three aims: better care for individuals; better health for populations; and slower growth in costs through improvements in care. (Berwick DM. Launching Accountable Care Organizations- The Proposed Rule for the Medicare Shared Savings Program. N Engl J Med 2011; 364: e32.) 

Affordable Care Act (ACA) / The comprehensive health reform signed in March 2010 by President Obama into law to render preventive care more accessible and affordable starting in January 2014.  (McDonough JE. The Road Ahead for the Affordable Care Act. N Engl J Med 2012; 367: 199-201.) 

Agent (see Intelligent Agent)

Algorithms/ Term describing the computer process of following a well-defined list of instructions with historical origin traced to Al Khwarizmi and later popularized by Leonardo Fibonacci. (Steiner C. Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World. The Penguin Group, New York, 2012.) 

AlphaGo/ Google DeepMind group developed this computer program that utilizes a Monte Carlo tree search with an artificial neural network to play the game Go.

Application Programming Interface (API) / A set of programming instructions and standards (commands, functions, protocols, and objects) for accessing a Web-Based software application or Web tool.

Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) (see Strong AI).

Artificial Intelligence/ The science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs (John McCarthy, Stanford). (Chang AC et al. Artificial Intelligence in Pediatric Cardiology: An Innovative Transformation in Patient Care, Clinical Research, and Medical Education. Congenital Cardiology Today; 2012.)

Artificial Neural Network (ANN)/ A computational model inspired by natural neurons with communication channels between neurons and these signals that can be weighted (positive or negative). (Lisboa PJ et al. The Use of Artificial Neural Networks in Decision Support in Cancer: A Systematic Review. Neural Networks 2006; 19(4): 408-415.) 

Association Analysis/ Data mining methodology which is useful for discovering interesting relationships hidden in large data sets that can be represented in the form of association rules (sets of frequent items). (Tan PN et al. Introduction to Data Mining, Pearson Education Inc, Boston, 2006.)

Augmented Reality (AR) (see Virtual Reality)/ 3-D virtual objects are integrated into a 3-D real environment in real-time as a form of advanced computer-assisted navigation or visualization technology. (Ewers R et al. Basic Research and 12 Years of Clinical Experience in Computer-assisted Navigation Technology: A Review. Int J Oral and Max Surg 2005; 34(1): 1-8.)

Autoencoder/ A type of artificial neural network that is used in unsupervised learning algorithm in order to achieve backpropagation.
Avatar/ A graphical representation of oneself in the virtual world. (Hansen MM. Versatile, Immersive, Creative and Dynamic Virtual 3-D Healthcare Learning Environments: A Review of the Literature. J Med Internet Res 2008; 10(3): 226.)


Backpropagation/ A fast algorithm used for learning in computing gradients for artificial neural networks.

Backward Chaining or Reasoning/ An inference method that is described as working backward from the goal to determine if there is data to support these outcomes.

Bayesian or Bayes Network (BN) (also Belief Networks or Bayes Nets)/ A graph-based model that encodes the probabilistic relationships or dependencies among the variables of interest, thereby can be used to learn causal relationships. (Friedman N et al. Using Bayesian Networks to Analyze Expression Data. J Computational Biol 2004; 7(3-4): 601-620.)

Belief Network/ see Bayesian Network

Big Data/ Recent paradigm describing the coupling of the massive amount of data with sophisticated data analytics to acquire new knowledge or insight. (Chang AC. Big Data in Pediatric Cardiology: The Upcoming Knowledge Revolution. Congenital Cardiology Today 2013; 11:11-12).

Biocybernetics (also Biocybernetic System)/ A method to evaluate the entire living organism with an interdisciplinary approach that involves laboratory data using biomodeling and computational elements.
Bioinformatics/ An interdisciplinary study of storage, retrieval, organization, and analysis of biological data and information that utilizes computer science, biology, and mathematics. (Bayat A. Bioinformatics. Br Med J 2002; 324(7344): 1018-1022.)

Biomedical Informatics/ An interdisciplinary field of quantitative and computational methods designed to solve problems across the entire spectrum from biology to medicine. (Altman R. Challenges for Biomedical Informatics and Pharmacogenomics. Ann Rev Pharmacol and Toxicol 2002; 42: 113-133.)

Biomedical Signal Analysis/ A visualization and interpretation method in biology and medicine for detection, storage, transmission, analysis, and display of images.

Biometrics/ Use of biological markers (such as genetic information, fingerprints, voice patterns, facial characteristics, or eyes) for identification or quantification purposes with the aid of technology.

Biomimicry/ An innovative methodology that is inspired by nature to seek a sustainable and ecological solution. (Sommer AP et al. Biomimicry Patterning with Nanosphere Suspensions. Nano Letters 2003; 3(5): 573-575.)

Bionics/ Body parts that are made stronger or more capable by special electronic or electromechanical devices; use of a biological entity and electronic devices that are put together to create the required implant. (Wallace GG et al. Organic Bionics: Molecules, Materials, and Medical Devices. Chemistry in Australia 2009; 76(5): 3-8.)

Blockchain (or block chain)/ An innovative secure database used in bitcoin that is shared by all parties in a distributed network of computers so that an anonymous exchange of digital assets can occur.
Blog/ From “web” and “log”, a virtual informational site that consist of users placing posts (or entries). (Van De Belt TH et al. Definition of Health 2.0 and Medicine 2.0: A Systematic Review. J Med Internet Res 2010; 12(2): e18.)

Boolean Algebra/ A branch of algebra in which the values of the variables are the truth values true and false (denoted 1 and 0, respectively).
Brain Computer Interface (BCI)/ Also called mind-machine interface (MMI) or brain-machine interface (BMI), is a communication between the brain and computer to enhance or augment either mental or physical ability. (Lee B et al. A Primer on Brain-Machine Interfaces, Concepts, and Technology: A Key Element in the Future of Functional Neurorestoration. World Neurosurg 203; 79(3-4): 457-471.)


Case-based Reasoning/ Artificial intelligence technique of utilization of former experiences to comprehend and solve new problems. (Holt A et al. Medical Applications in Case-based Reasoning. The Knowledge Engineer Rev 2005; 20(3): 289-292.)

Central Processing Unit (CPU)/ The electronic circuitry in the computer that performs the basic functions and operations (such as arithmetic, logical, control, and input/output) specified by the instructions.

Chaos Theory/ The study of nonlinear dynamics in mathematics in which seemingly random events are predictable from simple deterministic equations. (Holm S. Does Chaos Theory Have Major Implications for Philosophy of Medicine? Med Humanities 2002; 28: 78-81.)

Chimeraplasty/ A gene-therapy technique that involves using synthetic strand of RNA and DNA to form a chimeraplast, which in turn attaches to a target gene. (Taubes G. The Strange Case of Chimeraplasty. Science 2002; 298:2116-2120.)

Classification Trees/ see Decision Trees

Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS)/ An information system that entails tools (such as computerized alerts, clinical guidelines, and condition-specific order sets) that provides the clinical staff data and information that can improve health care. (Garg AX et al. Effects of Computerized Clinical Decision Support on Practitioner Performance and Patient Outcomes: A Systematic Review. JAMA 2005; 293(10): 122—1238.)

Circos Plot/ A visualization tool using circular ideogram layout to identify similarities and differences from genomes. (Krzywinski M et al. Circos: An Information Aesthetic for Comparative Genomics. Genome Res 2009; 19: 1639-1645.)

Classifier/ An algorithm that implements a classification in machine learning such as naive Bayes, random forest, boosted trees, or support vector machine.

Cloning/ Creation of an organism that is an exact genetic copy of another with every DNA material being identical. (McLaren A. Cloning: Pathway to a Pluripotent Future. Science 2000; 288(5472): 1775-1780.)

Cloud Computing (also Cloud)/ A jargon term to describe the workload shift via the internet from local computers to a remote network of computers (infrastructure, platform, and software as a service, or IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS, are models). (Soman AK. Cloud-based Solutions for Healthcare IT. CRC Press, New York, 2011.)

Codon/ A three-nucleotide sequence of DNA or RNA that specifies a single amino acid. (Hudson KL. Review Article: Genomics, Health Care, and Society. N Engl J Med 2011; 365: 1033-1041.)

Cognitive Computing/ System (such as Watson from IBM) that can learn better than man or computer alone with the intersection of three disciplines: neuroscience, supercomputing, and nanotechnology. (Brasil LM et al. Hybrid Expert System for Decision Supporting in the Medical Area: Complexity and Cognitive Computing. Int J of Medical Informatics 2001; 63(1-2): 19-30.)

Combinatorics (or Combinatorial Mathematics)/ Field of mathematics that is concerned with problems of selection, arrangement, and operation within a fine or discrete system.

Complementary-DNA (c-DNA)/ A DNA molecule synthesized by an RNA-dependent DNA polymerase from an RNA template. (Hudson KL. Review Article: Genomics, Health Care, and Society. N Engl J Med 2011; 365: 1033-1041.)

Complexity Theory (see Chaos Theory)

Computer Assisted Design (CAD) (also Computer Aided Design and Drafting, or CADD) / The utilization of computer systems and software to aid the creation, modification, and optimization as well as storage of a particular design. (Grassy G et al. Computer-assisted Rational Design of Immunosuppressive Compounds. Nature Biotechnol 1998; 16: 748-752.)

Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) / Three-dimensional computer graphics used for creating scenes or special effects. (McCloy R. Virtual Reality in Surgery. BMJ 2001; 323(7318: 912-915.)

Computer Vision/ see Machine Vision.

Concatenation / The linkage of two or more character strings (words) or separated things end to end to be addressed as a single item (e.g. air and line can be concatenated into airline).

Convolution / A mathematical function derived from two given functions by integration that expresses how the shape of one is modified by the other (the blending of one function with another).

Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) / A special type of forward-feeding ANN in which the neurons are inspired by the cortex of the brain with overlapping influence.

Copy Number Variation (CNV) / Variation from one person to the next in the number of copies of a particular gene or DNA sequence. (Manolio TA. Genomewide Association Studies and Assessment of the Risk of Disease. N Engl J Med 2010; 363: 166-176.)

Crowd-sourcing / Distributive problem solving for services or ideas by distributing tasks to a large on-line community to mine collective intelligence. (Swan M. Health 2050: The Realization of Personalized Medicine Through Crowdsourcing, the Quantified Self, and the Participatory Biocitizen. J Pers Med 2012; 2: 93-118.)

Curse of Dimensionality / How certain learning algorithms in machine learning do not perform well in high-dimensional data.

Cyborg / From “cybernetic” and “organism, a being with biological and artificial parts. (Williams SJ. Modern Medicine and the ”Uncertain Body”: From Corporeality to Hyperreality? Social Science and Medicine 1997; 45(7): 1041-1049.)


Data Analytics / Process of transforming and modeling data for discovery useful information.

Data-driven Medicine / Data-centric approach that compute on massive amounts of data to discover previously unrecognized patterns and to make clinical relevant predictions to improve health care. (Shah NH et al. The Coming Age of Data-driven Medicine: Translational Bioinformatics’ Next Frontier. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2012; 19:e2-e4.)

Data Mart / A smaller version of data warehouse that focus on a particular subject or department. (Arnrich B et al. Data Mart based Research in Heart Surgery: Challenges and Benefit. Medinfo  2004; 11 Pt 1; 8-12.)

Data Mining / The process of automatically discovering useful information in large data repositories. (Tan PN et al. Introduction to Data Mining, Pearson Education Inc, Boston, 2006.)

Data Science / Interdisciplinary field (statistics, machine learning, data mining, predictive analytics, and mathematics) about strategies to extract knowledge from data in structured and unstructured forms.

Data Visualization / Discipline to study the visual representation of data to maximize communication with clarity. (Chittaro L. Information Visualization and its Application in Medicine. Artif Intel in Med 2001; 22(2): 81-88.)

Data Warehousing (DW) / A database or collection of databases for reporting and data analysis to be used for management decision making. (Wisniewski MF. Development of Clinical Data Warehouse for Hospital Infection Control. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2003; 10(5): 454-462.)

Decision Theory / Identification of value and uncertainty relevant to a decision and process of determining the optimal solution.

Decision Trees / Decision support mechanism to display an algorithm that uses a tree-figured graph or model of decisions with consequences.

DeepMind (Google)/ London-based computer scientist and neuroscientist group headed by Demis Hassabis that developed the AlphaGo software that defeated the human champion.

DeepQA Project / A project aimed at illustrating how the advancement and integration of natural language processing, information retrieval, machine learning, and knowledge representation to accommodate open domain questions as observed with the IBM Watson supercomputer. (Ferrucci D. Build Watson: An Overview of DeepQA for the Jeopardy! Challenge. Proceeding of the 19th International Conference on Parallel Architectures and Compilation Techniques 2010; 1-2.)

Deep Neural Networks / Computationally powerful version of regular neural networks with two or more layers of hidden processing neurons.

Deep Learning / An artificial intelligence technique that extends the traditional machine learning techniques with multiple layers of neural networks.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) / A federal agency, established in 1958, to prevent strategic surprise from negatively impacting U.S. national security by maintaining the technological superiority of the U.S. military in many disciplines; the innovative engine for the Department of Defense. (Polla DL et al. Microdevices in Medicine. Ann Rev for Biomed Engineer 2000; 2: 551-576.)

Dendral Expert System / An early AI project at Stanford in which an heuristic system is designed to be a chemical analysis expert system.

Dendrimer / A molecule or polymer with a symmetric repetitively branching three-dimensional pattern; also called a cascade molecule. (Lee CC et al. Designing Dendrimers for Biological Applications. Nature Biotechnol 2005; 23:1517-1526.)

Differential Privacy / The cryptographical process of maximizing accuracy of queries from statistical databases while minimizing chances of identifying its records.

Digital Medicine / Use of digital tools in medicine to record clinical data and generate medical knowledge that is more precise, more effective, more experimental, and more widely distributed. (Shaffer DW et al. What is Digital Medicine? Stud Health Technol Inform 2002; 80:195-204.)

DNA Computing (also Molecular Computing)/ Future computing technology to incorporate DNA and RNA at high and low concentrations to send signals through a computational configuration. (Maojo V et al. Nanoinformatics and DNA-Based Computing: Catalyzing Nanomedicine. Ped Res 2010; 67: 481-489.)

DNA Microarray/ Also called DNA chip, it is a system in which many probes with known identity are fixed on a solid support with spots that can be DNA, cDNA, or oligonucleotides. (Dugoff L. Application of Genomic Technology in Prenatal Diagnosis. N Engl J Med 2012; 367(23): 2249-2251.)

Drone / A pilotless air vehicle that is operated by remote control; also termed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

Drug Discovery / Process in which novel candidate medications are discovered though computational means.


eHealth (also e-health)/ Healthcare accompanied by electronic processes to enhance the communication and quality of delivery. (Black AD et al. The Impact of eHealth on the Quality and Safety of Health Care: A Systematic Overview. PLoS Med 8(1): e1000387.)

Electronic Health Record (EHR) / Real-time digital record of a patient’s paper medical records that is available for authorized users for reading and decision making.

Embryonic Stem Cell / These stem cells are pluripotent stem cells that originate from the blastocyst inner cell mass after an in vitro fertilization. (Bishop AE et al. Embryonic Stem Cells. J Pathol 2002; 197:424-429.)

Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) / An international collaboration of research groups funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) to identify all functional elements in the human genome. (The ENCODE Project Consortium. Identification and Analysis of Functional Elements in 1% of the Human Genome by the ENCODE Pilot Project. Nature 2007; 447: 799-816.)

Epigenetics / The study of the interactions of chemicals and genes and the factors that influence these interactions such as DNA methylation, histone modification, and nucleosome location. (Hochberg Z et al. Child Health, Developmental Plasticity, and Epigenetic Programming. Endocrine Reviews 2011; 32(2): 159-224)

Evidence-Based Practice / An interdisciplinary strategy to learn by making decisions on research studies that are carefully selected; the five step process includes ask-acquire-appraise-apply-analyze. (Sackett DL et al. Evidence based Medicine: What it is and What it isn’t. BMJ 1996; 312(7023): 71-72.)

Evolutionary Algorithms (see Genetic Algorithms)

Exabyte (EB) / One quintillion or 1018 bytes (or 1 billion gigabytes) which is enough storage capacity to store 100,000 times all printed material.

Exome / The part of the genome that contains the DNA record for the protein coding part of the genome. (Ng SB et al. Exome Sequencing Identifies the Cause of a Mendelian Disorder. Nature Genetics 2010; 42: 30-35.)

Exon / A sequence of DNA that codes information for protein synthesis that is transcribed to messenger RNA. (Keren H et al. Alternative Splicing and Evolution: Diversification, Exon Definition, and Function. Nature Reviews Genetics 2010; 11:345-355.)

Exoskeleton (also Powered Exoskeleton) / A powered suit to assist the wearer to increase strength and/or endurance with healthcare uses including lifting of heavy patients and allowing disabled patients to walk. (Hesse S et al. Upper and Lower Extremity Robotic Devices for Rehabilitation and for Studying Motor Control. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med 2012; 48(1): 111-121.)

Expert Systems / An artificial intelligence methodology, among the first successful techniques used in artificial intelligence, in which a computer system emulates the decision-making process of a human expert. (Spiegelhalter DJ et al. Assessment, Criticism, and Improvement of Imprecise Subjective Probabilities for a Medical Expert System. Proceedings of the Fifth Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence 2013.)

Extensible Markup Language (XML) / A markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents for storage and transport in a human- and machine-readable format.


Facebook / An online social networking site with potential problems including exposure to inappropriate materials, cyberbullying, sexting, and even Facebook depression. (O’Keefee GS et al. The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families. Pediatrics 2011; 127(4): 800-804.)

Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) (pronounced “fire”)/ An interoperability standard for electronic exchange of healthcare information developed by HL7 to provide a framework for exchange to support clinical practice.

Feature / An individual measurable element of a phenomenon being observed (number, string, or graph) for use in machine learning algorithm for pattern recognition, classification, and regression.

FLoating point Operations Per Second (FLOPS) / A computer performance measurement benchmark for rating the speed of microprocessors. For example, one teraFLOPS is equal to one trillion FLOPS.

Foursquare / A social networking website designed for mobile devices in order to interact with their environment. (Merchant RM et al. Integrating Social Media into Emergency-Preparedness Efforts. N Engl J Med 2011; 365: 289-291).

Frame / An AI data structure that is used to divide knowledge into substructures.

Fullerenes / Composed entirely of carbon, these molecules used in nanotechnology can take the shape of spheres, ellipsoids, or tubes. (Raffa V et al. Progress in nanotechnology for Healthcare. Minim Invasive Ther Allied Technol 2010; 19(3): 127-135)

Fuzzy Logic or Reasoning / It is a problem-solving control system that accommodates degrees of truth rather than absolute true or false Boolean logic. (LaBrunda M et al. Fuzzy Logic in Medicine. J of Inform Technol Res 2008: 1(1): 1-7.)


Gamification / The application of digital game design techniques and leveraging of technology and psychology to non-game contexts such as social impact or health care challenges. (Ferguson B. The Emergence of Games for Health. Games for Health Journal 2012; 1: 1-3.)

Gene Therapy / Techniques that involve the use of genes to treat or prevent disease: replacing or inactivating a mutated gene or introducing a new gene. (Kohn DB et al. Gene Therapy Fulfilling its Promise. N Engl J Med 2009; 360(5): 518-521.)

Genetic Algorithms (GA) / An artificial intelligence technique that mimics biological evolution by representing the solution to the problem as a genome and applying genetic operators to evolve the eventual best solution. (Dybowski R et al. Prediction of Outcome in Critically Ill Patients Using Artificial Neural Network Synthesized by Genetic Algorithm. The Lancet 1996; 347(9009): 1146-1150.)

Genetic Engineering / Technologies that can modify the genetic makeup of cells and can involve highly sophisticated manipulations of genetic material, also called genetic modification. (Gaj T et al. Expanding the Scope of Site-Specific Recombinases for Genetic and Metabolic Engineering. Biotechnol Bioeng 2013; [Epub ahead of print].)

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) / Signed by President Bush in 2008, the act protects Americans against discrimination based on their genetic information in situations that involve health insurance and job employment. (Korobkin R et al. The Genetic Information Nondiscriminatory Act- A Half-Step Toward Risk Sharing. N Engl J Med 2008; 359: 335-337.)

Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) / A plant or animal that has been genetically engineered with DNA from a source such as bacteria, virus, or another plant or animal. (Frey J. Biological Safety Concepts ofGenetically Modified Live Bacterial Vaccines. Vaccine 2007; 25(30): 5598-5605.)

Genetics, Robotics, Internet, and Nanotechnology (GRIN) Technologies / Emerging technologies that follow a curve of exponential change. Another term is Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information technology, and Cognitive science (NBIC). (Mulhall G. Our Molecular Future: How Nanotechnology, Robotics, Genetics, and Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Our World. Prometheus Books, New York, 2002.)

Genomics / Genomics is the study of functions and interactions of all the genes in the genome, not just of single genes as in genetics. (Guttmacher AE et al. Review Article: Genomic Medicine. N Engl J Med 2002; 347: 1512-1520.)

Genome-wide Association Study (GWAS) / An approach used in genetics research to look for associations between many (typically hundreds of thousands) specific genetic variations (most commonly single-nucleotide polymorphisms) and particular diseases. (Manolio TA. Genomewide Association Studies and Assessment of the Risk of Disease. N Engl J Med 2010; 363: 166-176.)

Global Innovation Index (GII) / A valuable benchmarking tool of innovation based on national economy pillars (such as institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, market sophistication, and business sophistication) as well as innovation output pillars: knowledge and technology and creative outputs. (

Google / A search engine company with the mission “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” by using “Googlebots” to crawl and search via algorithms (see above); now with one billion search requests a day. (Tang H et al. Googling for a Diagnosis- Use of Google as a Diagnostic Aid: Internet Based Study. BMJ 2006; 333:1143-1145.)

Googlebots / The search algorithm bot (also called a “spider”) that crawls and collects documents from the web for the Google search engine. (Giustini D. How Google is Changing Medicine. BMJ 2005; 331(7531): 1487-1488.)

Google Glass / A wearable personal computer with optical head-mounted display with capability to communicate with the internet with natural language commands with potential for application in medicine and surgery. (

Graph Database or Graph Theory/ A NoSQL type of database that uses graph structures for semantic queries with nodes and edges to represent and store data.

Graphene / A material that is composed of a one-atom-thick layer of carbon that is purported to be much stronger than steel while able to conduct electricity; potential applications include screens and displays, biomedical devices and sensors, and memory chips and electronic processors. (Yao J et al. Chemistry, Physics, and Biology of Graphene-based Nanomaterials: New Horizons for Sensing, Imaging, and Medicine. J Mater Chem 2012; 22: 14313-14329.)

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) / A single-chip processor with highly parallel structure used to manage and boost the performance of video and graphics as well as algorithms for large blocks of data in order to lessen the burden of the CPU. Also known as visual processing unit (VPU).


Hackathon / An event in which computer scientists gather to collaborate on coding in a very short time (usually days or weekends).

Hadoop (Apache)/ Software library that serves as a framework for distributed processing of large data sets across clusters of computers using relatively simple programming models; emerging as the leading technology for big institutions to mine big data. (O’Driscoll A et al. ‘Big Data’, Hadoop, and Cloud Computing in Genomics. J of Biomed Inform 2013; 46(5): 774-781.)

Haplotype / A set of DNA variations or polymorphisms that tend to be inherited together. (Manolio TA. Genomewide Association Studies and Assessment of the Risk of Disease. N Engl J Med 2010; 363: 166-176.)

Haptic Technology (also Haptics) / The science of understanding and improving human interaction with the physical world through the sense of touch. (

Health 2.0 (also Medicine 2.0)/ Combination of health care with the concept of Web 2.0 with an additional assumption of patient empowerment. (Van De Belt TH et al. Definition of Health 2.0 and Medicine 2.0: A Systematic Review. J Med Internet Res 2010; 12(2): e18.)

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) / The 1996 act that was endorsed by the U.S. Congress that provided regulations for use and disclosure of an individual’s health information.

Health Level 7 (HL7) / A not-for-profit standards developing organization that is dedicated to provide a comprehensive framework for the exchange and integration of electronic health information.

Hebbian Theory or Learning / A theory of how neuronal connections can be enforced (the strength of the connection altered) and is the basis for weight selection in artificial neural networks.

Heuristic Method / A technique that is designed for solving a problem more quickly when traditional methods are too slow.

Hidden Markov Model (HMM) / see Markov Model

Holography (also Hologram) / 3-D image of an object that is  projected and captured on a 2-D surface formed by a split laser beam. (Mirza K et al. Holography in Clinical Anatomy Education: A Systematic Review. Medical Posters 2013; 1(4).)

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) / The interdisciplinary field of study that involves interaction between human users and computers; computer science, behavioral science, design science, cognitive psychology, and communication theory are all involved in this field. (Greatbatch D et al. Interpersonal Communication and Human-Computer Interaction: An Examination of the Use of Computers in Medical Consultations. Interacting with Computers 1993; 5(2): 193-216.)

Human Genome Project / The quest to sequence all 3 billion base pairs of the human genome that was led by the National Institute of Health and completed in 2003 with discovery of more than 1,800 disease genes. (Lander ES. Initial Impact of the Sequencing of the Human Genome. Nature 2011; 470(7333): 187-197.)

Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) / A cyborg-type robot with a voluntary control system designed to expand or improve the user’s physical capability by receiving biosignals from the skin. (Hong YW et al. Lower Extremity Exoskeleton: Review and Challenges Surrounding the Technology and its Role in Rehabilitation of Lower Limbs. Aust J of Basic and Appl Sci 2013; 7(7): 520-524.)


Inference Engine / A component of the expert system along with knowledge base with its stored facts that applied logical rules to the knowledge base.

Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside (i2b2) / An NIH-funded center for developing a scalable informatics framework that will enable clinical research with the existing clinical data for discovery research.

In-Frame Exon Skipping / The skipping of an exon that contains a multiple of three nucleotides during splicing of pre-mRNA, resulting in the preservation of the reading frame for translation. (Feero WG et al. Review Article: New Therapeutic Approaches to Mendelian Disorders. N Engl J Med 2010; 363: 852-863.)

Innovation / Defined as the act of introducing something new or different but requires exemplary leadership and flawless execution if it is to lead to impact. (Herzlinger RE. Why Innovation in Health Care is So Hard. Harvard Business Review 2006.)

Intelligent Agent (also Agent) / A unit that can perceive its environment via sensors and act upon the environment via effectors. (Vicari RM et al. A Multi-agent Intelligent Environment for Medical Knowledge. Art Intel in Med 2003; 27: 335-366.)

Intelligent Computing Method (ICM) / Artificial intelligence methods that include genetic algorithm, artificial neural network, and fuzzy logic. (Pandey B et al. Knowledge and Intelligent Computing System in Medicine. Computers in Biol and Med 2009; 39(3): 215-230.)

Internet of Everything (IoE) / The intelligent connection of people, process, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable.

Internet of Things (IoT) / The infrastructure of the information society that links together networks, devices, and data for the purpose of collecting and exchanging data.

Intron / A noncoding segment of DNA between exons that can interrupt a gene-coding sequence. (Guttmacher AE et al. Review Article: Genomic Medicine. N Engl J Med 2002; 347: 1512-1520.)

Isabel / A Web-based diagnostic checklist and decision support tool to help clinicians broaden their differential diagnosis and recognize a disease at the point of care. (


JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) / An open-standard data format that is used for asynchronous browser/server communication with human-readable text to transmit data objects.


Kaggle / A crowdsourcing approach to a platform for predictive modeling and analytics competitions for the best predictive model that is transparent.

k-Means Clustering / A signal processing method of vector quantization for cluster analysis in data mining by which a dataset is partitioned into small number of clusters (by minimizing the distance between each data point and the center of the cluster that the point belongs to).

k-Nearest Neighbor (KNN) / A machine learning algorithm that is a non-parametric method for classification and regression for pattern recognition.

Knowledge-based Systems (KBS) / Artificial intelligence techniques that include rule-based learning, case-based learning, and model-based learning; the other school is intelligent computing method. (Pandey B et al. Knowledge and Intelligent Computing System in Medicine. Computers in Biol and Med 2009; 39(3): 215-230.)

Knowledge Discovery in Databases (KDD) / Data mining for searching hidden knowledge in a large amount of data with data preparation, selection, cleansing, and interpretation.

Knowledge Representation / An artificial intelligence technique to represent knowledge in symbols in order to derive at conclusions from these elements. Peleg M et al. Decision Support, Knowledge Representation, and Management in Medicine. Yearb Med Inform 2006; 45: 72-80.)


Lab-on-a-Chip (also Microfluidics) / Performing laboratory operations on a small scale (to tens of micrometers) using miniaturized microfluidic devices. (Whitesides GM. Overview: The Origins and the Future of Microfluidics. Nature 2006; 442: 368-373.)

Liposomes / A small vesicle made of cell membrane constituents that can be used as a drug delivery vehicle. (Maurya, SD. Liposome as a Drug Delivery Carrier- A Review. Int Res J of Pharm 2010; 1: 43-50.)

Lisp (Programming Language)/ Lisp, or LISP, is a high-level programming language initially specified in 1958 as part of the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence by John McCarthy.

Logistic Regression / A regression model where the dependent variable is categorical.


Machine Learning / A branch of artificial intelligence which allowing computers to learn from data via representation and generalization with uses in health care including analysis of the human genome and medical decision support. (Mani S et al. Medical Decision Support Using Machine Learning for Early Detection of Late-Onset Neonatal Sepsis. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2013; [Epub ahead of print])

Machine Vision / Technology and methodologies used to provide image-based analytics for inspection or control as well as robotic guidance in various industries.

Machine to Machine (M2M) / Communication network that entails wireless devices forming an ecosystem that minimizes human interaction.

Markov Model / A system consists of a list of possible states of the system, possible paths, and rate parameters of transitions (also see hidden Markov model). (Sonnenberg FA et al. Markov Models in Medical Decision Making: A Practical Guide. Med Decis Making 1993; 13(4): 322-338.)

Mashup / A Web application or derivative work that consists of combination of data of various sources. (Cheung KH et al. Semantic Mashup of Biomedical Data. J of Biomed Inform 2008; 41(5): 683-686.)

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) / On line distance education course and connection that is meant for a large scale participatory audience via Web access. (Harder B. Are MOOCs the Future of Medical Education? BMJ 2013; 346.)

MATLAB (Matrix Laboratory) (Programming language) / A high level fourth generation language and interactive environment for numerical computation, visualization, and programming. (Singh SP et al. A Review of Estimating Development Time and Efforts of Software Projects by Using Neural Network and Fuzzy Logic in MATLAB. Int J of Adv Res in Comp Sci and Sofware Eng 2012; 2(10): 306-312.)

Meaningful Use / In the use of EHR, meaningful use is for improving quality and care coordination as well as engaging patients maintaining privacy to lead to better clinical outcomes.

Medical Decision Support (see Clinical Decision Support)

Medical Image Processing or Analysis / Use of machine intelligence to perform quantitative analytics of medical imaging modalities such as CT, MRI, PET, or microscopy.

Medicine 2.0 (see Health 2.0)

Metadata / Defined as data about data or how data is collected or formatted with relevance to data warehouses. (Sakai Y. Metadata for Evidence Based Medicine Resources. Int Conf on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications, 2001.)

Metabolomics / The comprehensive characterization of small molecule metabolites in biological systems. (Madsen R et al. Chemometrics in Metabolomics- A Review in Human Disease Diagnosis. Analytica Chimica Acta 2010; 659(1-2): 23-33.)

mHealth (or m-health) (also Mobile Health)/ Practice of medicine and public health supported by mobile devices such as mobile phones or tablet computers. (Free C et al. The Effectiveness of MHealth Technologies for Improving Health and Health Services: A Systematic Review Protocol. BMC Research Notes 2010; 3: 250-258.)

Microbiome / A discipline to examine how bacteria interact with each other and the human body to cause or prevent disease (Relman DA. Microbiology: Learning About Who We Are. Nature 2012; 486: 194-195.)

Microfluidics (see Lab-on-a-Chip)

MicroRNA (miRNA) / A short regulatory form of RNA that binds to a target RNA molecule and generally suppresses its translation by ribosomes. (Feero WG et al. Review Article: New Therapeutic Approaches to Mendelian Disorders. N Engl J Med 2010; 363: 852-863.)

Model-based Reasoning / An artificial intelligence methodology in which an inference method is used based on a model of the physical world. (Croskerry P. A Universal Model of Diagnostic Reasoning. Academic Med 2009; 84(8): 1022-1028.)

Modifier Genes / Genes that have a relatively small quantitative effect on the expression of another gene. (Nadeau JH. Modifier Genes in Mice and Humans. Nature Reviews Genetics 2001; 2: 16 5-174.)

Monte Carlo Tree Search (MCTS) / A heuristic search algorithm for certain types of decision processes such as in game playing for perfect information games (such as the game Go).

Moore’s Law / Observation by Gordon Moore, founder of Intel, that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits double every two years since the circuit was invented.

Multiparameter Intelligent Monitoring in Intensive Care (MIMIC) / Database that contains physiologic signals and vital signs time series from monitors as well as comprehensive clinical data for analytics and research.

MYCIN / An early expert system AI program that originated at Stanford University for treating blood infections.


Naïve Bayes Classifier / A technique that is based on Bayesian theorem and is well suited for data with high input dimensionality.

Nanobots (also Nanorobots) / Devices ranging in size from 0.1 to 10 micrometers and made of nanoscale or molecular components with promising use in biomedical technology. (Abeer S. Future Medicine: Nanomedicine. Future 2012; 25(3): 187-202.)

Nanomedicine / Use of nanotechnology and nanomaterials for clinical applications such as in vivo contrast agents, drug carriers, or diagnostic devices. (Kim BYS et al. Current Concepts: Nanomedicine. N Engl J Med 2010; 363:2434-2443)

Nanotechnology / The intentional design, characterization, production, and applications of materials, structures, devices, and systems by controlling their size and shape in the nanoscale range (1 to 100 nm). (Kim BYS et al. Current Concepts: Nanomedicine. N Engl J Med 2010; 363:2434-2443)

Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information technology, and Cognitive science (NBIC) / Emerging technologies that follow a curve of exponential change. Another term is Genetics, Robotics, Internet, and Nanotechnology (GRIN) Technologies.

Nanotubes (see Fullerenes)

Natural Language Processing (NLP) / A field in artificial intelligence and computer science to study the interaction between human natural language and computers. (Huske-Kraus D. Text Generation in Clinical Medicine- A Review. Methods of Inform in Med 2003; 42(1): 51-60.)

Neural Network or Nets/ see Artificial Neural Network

Neuomorphic Computing/ Design of computers that will possess three characteristics that brains have (but computers do not): low power consumption, fault tolerance, lack of need to be programmed. (Neuromorphic Computing: The Machine of New Soul. The Economist, 2013).

Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) / The inexpensive production of large volumes of sequence data that holds an advantage over the first generation automated Sanger sequencing technique. (Metzker ML. Sequencing Technologies- The Next Generation. Nature Reviews (Genetics) 2010; 11: 31-42.)


One-Shot Learning / A machine learning strategy to learn information about object categories from one or very few training images instead of large amounts of such data.

Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) / An approach used in business intelligence to answer analytical query that is multi-dimensional (relational database, reports, and data mining).

Organ Printing/ Biomedical application of rapid prototyping, or additive layer-by-layer biomanufacturing, is an emerging in situ transforming technology that is new compared to traditional solid scaffold-based tissue engineering. (Mironov V et al. Regenerative Medicine 2008; 3(1): 93-103.)


P4 (Predictive, Personalized, Preventive, and Participatory) Medicine / Philosophy to allow biotechnology to manage an individual’s health and wellness instead of disease in a personalized approach. (Hood L et al. Predictive, Personalized, Preventive, Participatory (P4) Cancer Medicine. Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology 2011; 8: 184-187).

Perceptron/ A machine learning algorithm for supervised learning of binary classifiers initially conceived in 1957 and is the basis for artificial neural network.

Protected Health Information (PHI)/ Information regarding health status and care as well as payment that can be associated with an individual.

Personalized Medicine/ A more precise and customized extension of traditional approaches to understanding and treating disease that has advanced due to wide availability of genetic information. (Burke W et al. Personalized Medicine in the Era of Genomics. JAMA 2007; 298(14): 1682-1684.)

Petabyte/ One quadrillion or 1015 bytes which is enough storage capacity to store the DNA of all Americans (1000 Terabytes = 1 Petabyte and 1000 Petabyte = 1 Exabyte).

Pharmacogenetics / The study of how the actions of and reactions to drugs are dependent on the variations of an individual’s genes and metabolic pathways. (Hamburg MA et al. The Path to Personalized Medicine. N Engl J Med 2010; 363(4): 301-304.)

Pharmacogenomics / A term at times confused with Pharmacogenetics, pharmacogenomics is the genomic discipline to study genes in the entire genome across the population that influence drug response (the premise for personalized medicine). (Brownstein C et al. Integration of a Standardized Pharmacogenomic Platform for Clinical Decision Support at Boston Children’s Hospital. BMC Proceedings 2012; 6:P5.)

Phenomics / Use of large-scale, high-throughput assays and bioinformatics approaches to investigate how genetic instructions actually translate into tangible phenotypic traits. (Kodituwakku PW et al. From Research to Practice: An Integrative Framework for the Development of Interventions for Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Neuropsychol Rev 2011, 21: 204-233.)

Pluripotency (also Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells)/ The potential of a cell to develop into more than one type of mature cell, usually any of the three germ layers (endoderm, mesoderm, or ectoderm). (Wu SM et al. Harnessing the Potential of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells for Regenerative Medicine. Nature Cell Biology 2011; 13: 497-505.)

Podcast/ A multimedia digital file that is accessible on the Internet and downloadable to a computer or other device with the potential for medical education and patient education. (Savel RH et al. The iCritical Care Podcast: A Novel Medium for Critical Care Communication and Education. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2007; 14: 94-99.)

Precision Medicine/ The coupling of clinical-pathological profiles with molecular profiles to tailor the diagnostic and therapeutic regimen to the individual. (Mirnezami R et al. Preparing for Precision Medicine. N Engl J Med 2012; 366: 489-491.)

Predictive Analytics / The capability to predict future human behavior or events by data mining and machine learning techniques (see above). (Siegel E. Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die. John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, 2013).

Predictive Modeling/ This strategy uses statistics to predict outcomes via one or more classifiers.

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) (also Preimplantation Genetic Screening, PGS)/ The genetic profiling of the embryo prior to implantation and as part of in vitro fertilization. (Harper JC et al. Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis: State of the Art 2011. Hum Genet 2011; 131(2): 175-186.)

Principal Components Analysis (PCA)/ A simple but powerful statistical technique that is useful in extracting relevant information from confusing data sets for such applications as face recognition and image compression.

Probabilistic Reasoning / Usage of past situations and examples and apply statistics to predict a likely outcome.

Proteomics / Study of structure and function of proteins. (Yeager ME et al. Plasma Proteomics of Differential Outcome to Long-Term Therapy in Children with Idiopathic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. Proteomics Clin Appl 2012; 6(5-6): 257-267.)

Python / A powerful (multi-paradigm) dynamic programming language that is used in a myriad of application domains with certain advantages for research: language interoperability, data structures, available libraries, and balance of high and low level programming.


Quantifiable Self / Self-knowledge of medical conditions or disease through self-tracking. (Swan M. Health 2050: The Realization of Personalized Medicine Through Crowdsourcing, the Quantified Self, and the Participatory Biocitizen. J Pers Med 2012; 2: 93-118.)

Quantum Computing / Computing that will harness the power of atoms and molecules to perform memory and processing tasks with quantum bits, or qubits.

Quantum Dot / Materials that consist of a core-and-shell structure (e.g. CdSe) coated with zinc and sulfide with a stabilizing molecule and a polymer layer coated with a protein. (Kim BYS et al. Current Concepts: Nanomedicine. N Engl J Med 2010; 363:2434-2443.)

Quick Response (QR) Code / A matrix barcode that is attached to an item which has information related to the item. (Samwald M et al. Pharmacogenomics in the Pocket of Every Patient? A Prototype Based on Quick Response Codes. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2013; 20: 409-412.).


R (Programming language) / A computer language and environment for statistical computing and high quality graphics particularly well suited for biomedical sciences.

Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) / Usage of radio waves to communicate between the reader and an electronic tag that is affixed to an object or person. (Kolokathi A et al. Radio Frequency Identificatoin (RFID) in Healthcare: A Literature Review. Stud Health Technol Inform 2013: 190: 157-159.)

Random Forest / An ensemble of decision trees (with each tree constructed by using a random subset of training data) that will output a prediction value.

Regenerative Medicine / Field of biomedical science that utilizes technology to use stem cells to rejuvenate, replace, and regenerate body cells, tissue and organs. (Gurtner GE et al. Progress and Potential for Regenerative Medicine. Ann Rev of Med 2007; 58: 299-312.)

Reinforcement Learning/ Machine learning that is inspired by behavioral psychology to maximize cumulative reward.

Relational Database/ A database with a relational model of data and the software systems that maintain these databases are called relational database management system (RDBMS).

ResearchKit (Apple)/ An open source framework introduced by Apple that provides an opportunity for researchers and developers to create apps for medical research.

Resource Description Framework (RDF) / A family of World Wide Web Consortium specifications for metadata data model and are documents that are used to store information in the RDF language.

Rich Site Summary (RSS) (also Really Simple Syndication)/ A format for delivery of regularly changing web content and a family of web feed formats to gather updated information including blog entries, audio and video information, and news articles and to present a summarized text for an update. (McLean R et al. The Effect of Web 2.0 on the Future of Medical Practice and Education: Darwikinian Evolution or Folksonomic Revolution? Med J Aust 2007; 187(3): 174-177.)

Robotics / Technology that entails design, construction, maintenance, and application of robots with their computer environment; health care applications in children include rehabilitation, exoskeletons, and virtual visits. (Blazquez MP. Clinical Applications of Robotics in Children with Cerebral Palsy. Biosystems and Biorobotics 2013; 1: 1097-1102.)

Robotic Surgery/ Robotic systems (e.g. the Intuitive Surgical da Vinci Surgical System and the Zeus MicroWrist Surgical System) used to assist in the performance of certain surgical procedures, especially laparoscopic procedures. (van Haasteren G et al. Pediatric Robotic Surgery: Early Assessment. Pediatrics 2009; 124(6): 1642-1649.)

Rule-based Reasoning/ An artificial intelligence technique (under the knowledge-based systems) that involves rules, data base, and interpreter for the rules. (Kumar K et al. Hybrid Approach Using Case-Based Reasoning and Rule-Based Reasoning for Domain Independent Clinical Decision Support in ICU. Expert Systems with Applications 2009; 36(1): 65-71.).


Semantic Net or Network/ A knowledge representation methodology used for propositional information (or mathematically a labelled directed graph).

Semantic Web/ Extension of the World Wide Web with metadata that will allow users to share content beyond the traditional boundaries of applications and websites and for computers to “talk” to each other; also termed “Web 3.0”. (Giustini D. Web 3.0 and Medicine. BMJ 2007; 335: 1273-1275.)

Sentence Compression Algorithm/ Strategy to extract the best answer for a query to be displayed in the featured snippets.

Signal Processing/ Technology that uses mathematical and computational representation for transferring information contained in various formats.

Single (Simple) Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) / A single-nucleotide variation in a genetic sequence that is a common form of variation in the human genome. (Manolio TA. Genomewide Association Studies and Assessment of the Risk of Disease. N Engl J Med 2010; 363: 166-176.)

Singularity / This refers to the point in time (estimated to be around the year 2045) during which technological intelligence supersedes human intelligence. This is a concept initially attributed to mathematician John von Neumann but popularized by the science fiction writer Vernor Vinge and the futurist Ray Kurzweil. Also known as technological singularity. (Kurzweil, Ray. The Singularity is Near. The Penguin Group, New York, 2005.)

Small (or Short) Interfering RNA (siRNA) / A short, double-stranded regulatory RNA molecule that binds to and induces the degradation of target RNA molecules. (Hudson KL. Review Article: Genomics, Health Care, and Society. N Engl J Med 2011; 365: 1033-1041.)

Small Iron Oxide Nanoparticles (SPIONS) / These nanoparticles contain one domain that leads to a relatively large generated magnetic field (Kim BYS et al. Current Concepts: Nanomedicine. N Eng J Med 2010; 363:2434-2443.)

Smart Wearable Systems (SWS) / Devices ranging from sensors and actuators to other monitoring devices for management of patients’ health status. (Chan M et al. Smart Wearable Systems: Current Status and Future Challenges. Artif Intell Med 2012; 56(3): 137-156.)

Social Media / The creation, sharing, and exchange of information and ideas in the virtual community; includes tools such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Foursquare, and other social tools. (Jain SH. Practicing Medicine in the Age of Facebook. N Engl J Med 2009; 361: 649-651.)

Software Agent/ A computer program capable of performing without direct supervision and is the computer analog of an autonomous robot.

Stem Cell (see Pluripotency and Embryonic Stem Cell)/ Unspecialized cells capable of renewing via cell division and also capable of being induced to become tissue specific cells. (Uccelli A et al. Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Health and Disease. Nature Reviews Immunology 2008; 8: 726-736.)

String/ A sequence of characters in computer programming.

Strong AI (or Artificial General Intelligence, AGI)/ An AI machine that is at least or more skillful or flexible as a human with machine intelligence that can think and function similar to humans.

Structured Query Language (SQL) / A special-purpose query programming language for accessing and managing databases organized in a relational database management system (RDBMS). (Das AK et al. A Temporal Query System for Protocol-Directed Decision Support. Methods of Information in Medicine 1994; 33(4): 358-370.)

Supervised Learning/ Machine learning of predicting from labeled training data with each example being an input object and a desired output.

Support Vector Machines (SVM)/ A machine learning technique in which supervised learning models with learning algorithms are used that analyze data for classification and regression analysis.

Swarm Intelligence/ Collective intelligence of a decentralized but self-organizing system that was introduced in the context of cellular robotic systems.

Syllogism/ A form of reasoning (deductive) in which a conclusion is drawn from two given or assumed propositions.

Systems Biology/ Integration of biology and medicine along with technology and computation as a discipline to study biological components from molecules to organisms or entire species. (Minoo P et al. Systems Biology and Pediatric Research. Ped Res 2013; 73: 499-501.)


Tag Cloud (see Word Cloud)

Telehealth/ Health care services (with a wider spectrum than telemedicine) being delivered via telecommunication with promise to increase access to specialized services (Farmer JE. Telehealth for Children with Special Health Care Needs: Promoting Comprehensive Systems of Care. Clin Pediatr 2001; 40(2): 93-98.)

Telemedicine/ The use of medical information exchanged from one site to another site via electronic communications. (Karp WB et al. Use of Telemedicine for Children with Special Care Needs. Pediatrics 2000; 105(4): 843-847.)

TensorFlowTM (Google)/ An open source software library for machine intelligence developed by Google Brain team for numerical computation using data flow graphs as well as deep learning.

Terabyte (TB) / Computer memory storage capacity that is a trillion bytes or a thousand gigabytes; 10 terabytes can hold the entire literary collection of the Library of Congress (1000 Terabytes = 1 Petabyte and 1000 Petabyte = 1 Exabyte).

Tissue Engineering (see Regenerative Medicine)/ The use of cells and materials to improve or replace biological tissue or organ. (Bianco P et al. Stem Cells in Tissue Engineering. Nature 2001; 414: 118-121.)

Transfer Learning / Machine learning type of learning that focuses on storing knowledge gained from solving one problem and then applying this knowledge to solve another problem.

Transhumanism / Movement with philosophy of improving humans with available technological modifications from intellectual and physical perspectives. (Lucas MS. Baby Steps to Superintelligence: Neuroprosthetics and Children. J Evol Technol 2012; 22(1): 132-145.)

Twitter/ An online social networking and microblogging service that utilizes “tweets” or 140character text messages as its main mode of communication. (Chretien KC et al. Physicians on Twitter. JAMA 2011; 305(6): 566-568.)

Turing Test/ A test of artificial intelligence devised by Alan Turing, the famous mathematician, wherein a human interrogator is given the task of distinguishing between a human and a computer based on the replies to questions. (Chandrasekaran B. On Evaluating AI Systems for Medical Diagnosis. AI Magazine 1983; 4(2): 34-48.)


Unsupervised Learning/ Type of machine learning in which a function is predicted based on unlabeled data so there is no error/reward signal for the predicted solution.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) (see drone).


Variants of Uncertain Significance (VUS) (also Allelic Variant of Unknown Significance)/ An alteration in the normal sequence of a gene that has unknown clinical significance and disease risk. (McCarthy MI et al. Genome-wide Association Studies for Complex Traits: Consensus, Uncertainty, and Challenges. Nature Reviews Genetics 2008; 9: 356-369.)

Virtual AI Assistant (VA) / A sentient digital assistant that uses artificial intelligence for facilitating one’s digital life or other activities and tasks (e.g. Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Echo, Facebook’s M, or Google’s Now).

Virtual Reality (VR) (see Augmented Reality)

Visual Analytics / The science of analytical reasoning supported by interactive visual interfaces and consists of an integral approach combining visualization, human factors, and data analysis. (Caban JJ et al. 2011 Workshop on Visual Analytics in Healthcare: Understanding the Physician Perspective 2012; 2(1): 29-31.)


Watson (IBM) / A supercomputer that utilizes a portfolio of natural language processing, information retrieval, knowledge representation, and machine learning with four terabytes of disk storage to be able to read close to 100 million pages per second and defeat human contestants on the quiz show Jeopardy!. (Yuan MJ. Watson and Healthcare: How Natural Language and Semantic Search Could Revolutionize Clinical Decision Support. IBM 2011)

Wearable Technology or Devices/ Devices that can monitor vital signs (such as heart rate, blood pressure, or pulse oximetry) and electrocardiogram (for waveform analysis and heart rhythm assessment).

Weak AI (also Narrow AI)/ AI is machine intelligence that is based on a single focused task (such as chess playing).

Web 2.0/ A term describing new collaborative Internet applications with key elements include: RSS (see above), blogs, wikis, and podcasts. (McLean R et al. The Effect of Web 2.0 on the Future of Medical Practice and Education: Darwikinian Evolution or Folksonomic Revolution? Med J Aust 2007; 187(3): 174-177.)

Web 3.0 (see Semantic Web)/ A term to describe the evolution of the web in finding and organizing new information beyond the boundaries of websites. (Giustini D. Web 3.0 and Medicine. BMJ 2007; 335: 1273-1275.)

Wiki (or Medical Wiki)/ A website or online resource that allows certain users to add and edit medical information as a collective group. (Bender JL et al. Collaborative Authoring: A Case Study of the Use of a Wiki As a Tool to Keep Systematic Reviews Up to Date. Open Med 2011; 5(4): e201-e208.)

Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) / A network of autonomous sensors for monitoring conditions in an environment but has potential healthcare applications. (Alemdar H et al. Wireless Sensor Networks for Healthcare: A Survey. Computer Networks 2010; 54(15): 2688-2710.)

Wolfram Alpha (or WolframAlpha) / A powerful computational knowledge engine that uses natural language processing and answers questions (similar to DeepQA project by IBM). (Shah NP. Recent Technological Advances in Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence. arXiv preprint arXiv 2012; 1208:4079.) 

Word Cloud (also Tag Cloud)/ A method of representing text data to visualize keyword metadata on websites (by size of font and by color). (McGee RG et al. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words. Am J of Transpl 2011; 11(4): 871-872.)


XML/ see Extensible Markup Language.


YouTube/ An online video-sharing website with video clips uploaded by individuals or by media corporations and even hospitals. (Stamelou M et al. Movement Disorders on YouTube- Caveat Spectator. N Engl J Med 2011; 365: 1160-1161.)


Zettabytes (ZB) / One sextillion or 1021 bytes (or one billion terabytes) with the total amount of global data around 3 zettabytes.


*Provided from the e-Book Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, available in the AHI MarkITplace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.