COVIDathon aims to develop open source tools to combat pandemic

The goal of the hackathon is to bring together the decentralized artificial intelligence community in an effort to help find new approaches to combat the coronavirus crisis.
By Nathan Eddy
12:10 PM

Starting April 1st, the Decentralized AI Alliance and partners SingularityNET and Ocean Protocol plan to host an online, not-for-profit hackathon called COVIDathon.

The goal is to bring together the decentralized artificial intelligence community in an effort to help find solutions to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.

WHY IT MATTERS
The eight-week hackathon features four tracks including data privacy, epidemiology & medicine, informational & coping tools, and open innovation, with the aim of developing and launching open-source code and tools to combat the pandemic and related consequences.

Hosted on DevPost, COVIDathon will run until June 1, with COVIDathon founding members providing tech assistance, technology and one-on-one mentorship to the hackathon participants.

The founders believe decentralized technology has the potential to provide more effective ways of addressing the multiple problems associated with tracking, controlling, understanding and ultimately curing pandemics like COVID-19.

The DAIA counts blockchain specialists like Aaragon and NEM, geneticists from Shivom, a biotech data and genetics analytics firm, and group of doctors coming from NTH Opinion, a US-based AI health technology firm as among its supporters.

The solutions developed by each track of hackathon participants, which is open to developers, technologists, doctors, entrepreneurs worldwide, will be as assessed by a panel of judges from the worlds of AI, blockchain and healthcare.

THE LARGER TREND
The outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in a wave of initiatives from health groups to tech organizations combating the spread of the virus, including two Israeli hospitals that launched an AI-based tele-ICU to support COVID-19 patients, and Collective Medical, an ADT-based care collaboration network that this week rolled out new functionality to support the public health response to COVID-19 at no cost.

Overall, medical technologies like telehealth platforms, data collected from digital thermometers and even 3D printing efforts have been rolled out worldwide to join testing, prevention and tracking efforts.

ON THE RECORD
"It is imperative for those with AI expertise to help with the COVID-19 pandemic," Dr. Ben Goertzel, chairman of DAIA and CEO of SingularityNET, said in a statement.

"From aiding with biomedicine and epidemiology to ensuring that data privacy is respected as the pandemic is tracked and studied, to creating democratically-evolving tools for sharing information and helping people cope – the number of ways AI can support in this unprecedented situation is vast."

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.
Email the writer: nathaneddy@gmail.com
Twitter: @dropdeaded209