publication date: Feb. 17, 2017

Is it research or run-of-the-mill IT?

The UT System report on the Oncology Expert Advisor Project raises questions about classification of development of artificial intelligence systems.

Are they research or are they IT systems?

The issue comes up in two “observations” contained in the report:


The OEA project was not approved through established IT Governance and did not follow required IT Governance processes.


Dr. [Lynda] Chin [formerly a senior scientist at MD Anderson, who is married to the institution’s president Ronald DePinho] described the OEA project to us as a donor-funded research and innovation project derived from a concept that artificial intelligence could potentially be applied to the delivery of health care. She clarified that, “because of its high-risk and transformative nature, it was not [an] idea suitable for extramural grant funding” and “therefore, it was up to philanthropy” to fund the project.

As a donor-funded research project “not executed under IT management,” she did not consider it to be an information technology project that would have been subject to institutional IT development policies and processes.

MD Anderson’s Information Technology Project Management and Governance Policy defines an IT project as, “an initiative that provides technology solutions (e.g., products, services, or results) characterized by well-defined parameters, specific objectives, common benefits, planned activities, a scheduled completion date, an established budget with a specified source of funding, and requires in excess of 80 hours of work effort to complete.”

The formal IT governance structure includes an executive committee and steering committees for areas … Continue reading Is it research or run-of-the-mill IT?

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