On the Shoulders of Giants 

Hello, BRIGHT Run Family, 

I had a great time at the 2022 Team Captains Launch Party last month. I was happy to meet and greet several captains. Some of them had been leading their teams since the early years of BRIGHT Run and some of them were newbies, like me. We were given a lot of useful information and guides on fundraising.  

On my way home that evening, I was thinking about the guides. Generally speaking, guidance is extremely helpful when we start on anything new. Then with experience (either from successes or failures or both), we develop our own paths. If some of these paths overlap and those have led to successes, one can develop a set of rules for success from commonality of these paths.  

However, the set of rules can vary. It is also very difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to record and formally express every set of rules. However, this was actually done at the start of AI research and is called ‘symbolic AI’.  

The last decade’s successful AI research has drifted quite an extent from that and builds on the automatic discovery of patterns from experiences. In more recent discussions, stalwarts are proposing ways of using both approaches to improve our understanding of intelligence.  

That means it is helpful to have previous knowledge or a body of work. There is a metaphor called ‘Standing on the shoulders of giants’ to account for the contribution of others as one builds on top of that.  

For the past 14 years, a tremendous body of work has been accomplished by all who supported BRIGHT Run. This year is a special one as we are into the 15th year of BRIGHT Run. I want to thank all the founding members, volunteers, community partners, executive members, and other supporters of BRIGHT Run for nurturing it through its teens.  

I feel lucky to be able to stand on the shoulders of the giants of BRIGHT Run!  



Dr. Ashirbani Saha is the first holder of the BRIGHT Run Breast Cancer Learning Health System Chair, a permanent research position established by the BRIGHT Run in partnership with McMaster University.