Computers: Calling Dr. SUMEX

The diagnostician's new colleague needs no coffee breaks

The white-coated doctor is hunched over his patient's bed. He is running the curious combination of symptoms through his mind, but he cannot quite get the overall picture to add up. "I'd like to call in a colleague to recommend a diagnosis," he tells the patient. The consultant he has in mind has decades of medical experience, an infallible memory for past cases and an encyclopedic knowledge of symptoms and diseases. The consultant, whose only shortcoming is a rather cold bedside manner, is a computer.

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