How Tech-Giants Are Using Technology to Fight COVID-19?

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COVID-19

Now it won’t be difficult to digest the fact that COVID-19 or novel Coronavirus will not be going anywhere for some time. Since its arrival, COVID-19 has affected over 740,000 individuals leading to more than 35,000 deaths worldwide.

Not so long after WHO declared it as a pandemic, many companies from small start-ups to the tech giants are actively responding to this global crisis. Indeed, it has lead to some positive outcomes along with the solutions that have been significantly useful for all the researchers as well as the common public. The tech-giants are using all sorts of technology to fight COVID-19.

From Big names like Apple, IBM, NASA, Google, Facebook to the popular online communities like Kaggle or Devpost, everyone is trying their best to contribute in the fight to prevent COVID-19. All these companies and organizations have joined the efforts by using different types of technologies ranging from Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Science, Web Development, App Development, Chatbots & others.

1. Apple released an app called COVID-19 & a website

apple

Both the application and the website was launched on 27th March and is based on the guidelines as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They offer up-to-date information and guidance on COVID-19.

With these tools, any user can answer a series of questions. These questions revolve around risk factors, symptoms, exposure, and so on. Upon completion, it shows all the recommendations that consist of guidance on self-isolation, social distancing, symptoms monitoring, recommended testing, and the correct time to contact the medical practitioner.

To keep people informed, the website and the app also provides several resources as per the progress made. It gives answers to all the frequently asked questions such as ways to recognize symptoms, who is at risk and so on., best practices for maintaining respiratory hygiene, the correct way of washing hands, disinfecting surfaces and so on. (Apple)

2. Big names like IBM, Google, NASA, Microsoft, and other created HPC Consortium

A majority of the tech giants along with top universities and government agencies have joined their forces to create a high-performance computing consortium for COVID-19. It has believed that it will help in speeding-up our fight against the spread of Coronavirus.

This group includes IBM, Google, NASA, Microsoft, AWS, HPE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, U.S. National Labs, U.S. Department of Energy, White House Office of Science & Technology, and others.

Their aim is to put together an HPC system or high-performance computing system that can be supported by all the consortium members for helping all the researchers to run massive calculations of molecular modeling, epidemiology, and bioinformatics. If all these calculations are done by hand, it can take up to years, or even months if done in a traditional way of computing. Definitely, this initiative by all the tech leaders will help save a significant amount of time and lives. (NetworkWorld)

Read More: The Rise and Rise of Quantum Computing

3. A Hackathon by Devpost

Hackathon by Devpost

Every tech enthusiast knows about Devpost. Still, for the newcomers, it is one of the biggest platforms that help software engineers participate in software competitions to build innovative solutions. To curb COVID-19, Devpost has organized a global hackathon on COVID-19 for fighting this ongoing pandemic.

They are encouraging developers to build solutions using a range of technologies for addressing challenging issues listed by WHO and other scientists. This hackathon welcomes everyone from all over the world to find solutions with support from companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Pinterest, Slack, AWS, Twitter & others.

These solutions might revolve around addressing preventive or hygienic behaviors, scaling telemedicine, contact tracing, promoting awareness, coping up with social distancing, solving various problems faced by businesses, alternating learning environments for students and so much more. 

4. Machine Learning Challenge by Kaggle

Machine Learning Challenge by Kaggle

Kaggle is one of the most active online communities for data scientists from all over the world. It is also a reputed platform for several competitions. To tackle COVID-19. Kaggle has revealed its new bounty-paying challenge called CORD-19 or the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset Challenge.

For this challenge, all the AI & ML experts are required to develop a data-mining tool that can analyze a dataset comprising all the research papers or articles ever written on virology and infectious diseases. The aim of this challenge will be to provide the answers for 10 tasks or inquiries related to coronavirus pandemic. Winning prize for each of the tasks will be a $1000 cash or a charitable donation to any relief efforts or research on COVID-19. 

Read More: Beginner’s Guide to Kaggle Kernels

5. $6 Million for Coronavirus Relief by Intel

Intel has decided to provide $4 million to the coronavirus relief efforts in all the areas where Intel has a significant presence. It is also agreed on providing up to $2 million to match funds for any part-time or full-time employee along with U.S. retiree who is willing to contribute to the COVID-19 fight. After all the contributions made till April 10, Intel will be going to match it.

It’s $4 million donations will be for all the organizations and community foundations that are dedicated to providing food, shelter, medical equipment and small-business support, while the matching donation will go to children hospitals, food banks, and school districts.

In America, the donations will be mostly for states like New Mexico, Arizona, California, Texas, Massachusetts, and Oregon. In the world, it will include countries like India, Israel, Ireland, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Malaysia & Mexico. (ComputerWorld)

6. Messenger Service by Facebook

Facebooks Trending Algorithm

Social networking leader Facebook has decided to help governments to fight this pandemic by offering its Messenger chat service. They have partnered with the developer community for allowing UN health agencies and government health organizations to use Messenger for scaling their response towards the COVID-19 crisis.

It will provide the latest, up-to-date and accurate information and updates regarding Coronavirus. Already Argentina and Pakistan along with UNICEF are using it for sharing information and spreading awareness about COVID-19.

Apart from this, Facebook is also working with the Devpost hackathon project to fight COVID-19. (Facebook)

7. Supercomputers by Huawei, Tencent & other for Coronavirus Vaccine

The supercomputers and several cloud computing resources of major tech players like Huawei, Tencent & DiDi are being used by researchers to develop the vaccine for Coronavirus. These tools are helping in fast-tracking the development of the cure.

All these devices can perform super-fast calculations and model solutions way faster than any regular computer processing helping researchers to save their time significantly.

8. DeepMind Division by Google for Developing Drugs

google-deepmind-health

Google has dedicated its AI-based DeepMind division solely for COVID-19. They have used the latest AI-based algorithms along with the computing powers to decode the protein structure of the Coronavirus. The findings have helped researchers significantly in developing treatments for Coronavirus.

They did so by training their AI-algorithm for a new trick known as mapping the structure of the novel coronavirus. Experts have said that this finding has already saved several months required for understanding the protein of Coronavirus. (Forbes)

9. Identifying infected or non-compliance individuals by using AI

Though it has been criticized, China is already using AI technology in its sophisticated surveillance system for detecting affected individuals with COVID-19. It uses a temperature detection system and facial recognition technology for identifying anyone who has a fever and is more likely to have the virus.

Similar to this one, China has allowed officials to use smart helmets for identifying the people with fevers. Moreover, the Chinese government has also created a ‘Health Code’ that is basically a monitoring system that uses big data for identifying and assessing the risk of individuals contracting Coronavirus depending upon their time spent on the virus hotspots, travel history and potential exposure to affected individuals. (Forbes)

Resources:

  • https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2020/03/apple-releases-new-covid-19-app-and-website-based-on-CDC-guidance/
  • https://www.networkworld.com/article/3533426/covid-19-tech-giants-government-agencies-add-supercomputing-to-the-fight.html
  • https://www.computerworld.com/article/3534478/tech-pitches-in-to-fight-covid-19-pandemic.html
  • https://messengernews.fb.com/2020/03/23/messenger-partners-with-developers-to-provide-government-health-organizations-with-free-services-to-respond-to-coronavirus-pandemic/
  • https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2020/03/13/coronavirus-how-artificial-intelligence-data-science-and-technology-is-used-to-fight-the-pandemic/#d136cd65f5fc

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