A few years ago, Vijay Pande, then a professor at Stanford who was using computer science to understand biology, was deciding whether to leave full-time academic work to become a venture capitalist. He turned to Andrew Ng, another Stanford professor who had joined Google Brain and later the Chinese search firm Baidu.

“The things that we dreamed about five or 10 years ago were happening now,” Pande recalled Ng telling him. “The question was, do you want to be a part of it? Or do you want to write another paper?”

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