Noor Shaker (Arabic: نور شاكر) is a Syrian entrepreneur and computer scientist who co-founded the drug discovery start-up GTN Ltd. In 2018, she received a CogX UK Rising Star Award from Prime Minister Theresa May for "AI technology that will transform drug discovery to treat chronic diseases".
Shaker studied a bachelors in computer science at the University of Damascus, Syria, specialising early on in artificial intelligence studies. Her work there included the development of Arabic incorporation into the Speech Synthesis Markup Language for speech-to-text software. She moved to Belgium for her Masters at KU Leuven, specialising in artificial intelligence. In 2009 she moved to Denmark to study a PhD and continue as a postdoc in machine learning at the IT University of Copenhagen. She remained in Copenhagen for several years, being appointed an assistant professor at Aalborg University in 2016. Her research focused on the use of machine learning in video games. This extended to co-organising competitions to produce AIs which could tackle video games or generate new levels to fit the user, most notably using Super Mario. During her professorial career she co-wrote a textbook titled "Procedural Content Generation in Gaming" and authored over thirty academic publications.
In 2015 Shaker created the app Lynura aimed at new parents, her first foray into entrepreneurship.
Together with Vid Stojevic she co-founded the London based start-up GTN Ltd (Generative Tensorial Networks) in 2017. The company aims to combine Shaker's experience with machine learning techniques and Stojevic's knowledge of quantum physics simulations in order to predict better therapeutics for medical use. Combining artificial intelligence with quantum models of published molecular structures may prove a novel and effective method to predict binding partners to disease regulators.
Her role as CEO of GTN has earned her many accolades, including being named a 'Rising Star' among BioBeat's 2018 list of 50 Movers and Shakers in BioBusiness. Representing GTN, she was awarded a CogX UK Rising Star Award by British Prime Minister Theresa May in 2018 for her innovative AI techniques for drug discovery and success in securing seed funding and prestigious collaborations. Shaker and GTN already have established relationships within academia, such as The Francis Crick Institute, and within industry to tackle neurodegenerative disorders by designing therapeutics that can pass the Blood–brain barrier.
Shaker is often a speaker at AI events (including those aimed at women in the industry) and chairs the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computational Intelligence: Games Technical Committee.
Awards and honours
- 2013: IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games Outstanding Paper Award for ‘Crowd-sourcing the Aesthetics off Platform Games’.
- 2018: Innovators Under 35 by MIT Technology Review
- 2018: 50 Movers and Shakers in BioBusiness by BioBeat 
- 2018: Rising Star by CogX 
- 2019: BBC 100 Women
- "#2 Noor Shaker of GTN on Disrupting Drug Discovery". Entrepreneur First. Retrieved 2018-12-26.
- Dakkak, Oumayma Al; Abou-Zleikha, Mohamed; Shaker, Noor (2008-09-08). SSML for Arabic Language. Text, Speech and Dialogue. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. pp. 657–664. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-87391-4_83. ISBN 9783540873907.
- Yannakakis, Georgios N.; Karakovskiy, Sergey; Shaker, Noor; Togelius, Julian (2013-09-15). "The Mario AI Championship 2009-2012". AI Magazine. 34 (3): 89–92. doi:10.1609/aimag.v34i3.2492. ISSN 2371-9621.
- "Noor Shaker - Research Portal, Aalborg University". vbn.aau.dk. Retrieved 2018-12-21.
- "PlatformersAI Competition". Retrieved 11 November 2018.
- Shaker, N.; Togelius, J.; Yannakakis, G. N.; Weber, B.; Shimizu, T.; Hashiyama, T.; Sorenson, N.; Pasquier, P.; Mawhorter, P. (2011). "The 2010 Mario AI Championship: Level Generation Track". IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games. 3 (4): 332–347. doi:10.1109/TCIAIG.2011.2166267. ISSN 1943-068X.
- Shaker, Noor; Togelius, Julian; Nelson, Mark J. (2016). Procedural Content Generation in Games. Computational Synthesis and Creative Systems. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-42716-4. ISBN 978-3-319-42714-0. ISSN 2509-6575.
- "Computer Science Bibliography: Noor Shaker". dblp.org. Retrieved 20 Dec 2018.
- "Crunchbase: Lynura". Crunchbase.com. Retrieved 21 Dec 2018.
- Heathman, Amelia (2018-12-12). "The women leading the healthcare revolution through tech". Evening Standard. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
- "GTN Ltd. Meet the Team". gtn.ai. Retrieved 20 Dec 2018.
- "AI and quantum physics are searching for life-saving drugs". wired.co.uk. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
- "2018 BioBeat 50 Movers and Shakers in BioBusiness" (PDF). mws-consulting.co.uk. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
- "2018 CogX UK Rising Star Awards Presented by Prime Minister Theresa May at Number 10". prnewswire.co.uk. Retrieved 12 Nov 2018.
- "C4XD enters discovery partnership with state-of-the-art artificial intelligence company, GTN Ltd". www.c4xdiscovery.com. Retrieved 2018-12-26.
- "RE•WORK | Noor Shaker". www.re-work.co. Retrieved 2018-12-21.
- "Games Technical Committee - IEEE Computational Intelligence Society". cis.ieee.org. Retrieved 2018-12-21.
- "Past Recipients - IEEE Computational Intelligence Society". cis.ieee.org. Retrieved 2018-12-24.
- Shaker, N.; Yannakakis, G. N.; Togelius, J. (2013). "Crowdsourcing the Aesthetics of Platform Games". IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games. 5 (3): 276–290. doi:10.1109/TCIAIG.2012.2231413. ISSN 1943-068X.
- "Biotechnology & medicine: Noor Shaker". innovatorsunder35.com. Retrieved 20 Dec 2018.
- "BBC 100 Women 2019: Who is on the list this year?". BBC News. 16 October 2019.