Hackathons Seek Solutions to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Tom Spendlove posted on April 10, 2020 |
COVID-19 AI hackathons provide ways for engineers to help with the pandemic.

Many hackathons have occurred recently or are planned in the near future, all with a goal of lessening the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic while positioning the world to better fight upcoming health crises. Health care analytics company lumiata is looking for “engineers, back-end and front-end software developers, data scientists, product managers and UX designers” to take part in its COVID-19 Global AI Hackathon, which runs from April 7 through May 1.

Starschema, HDX, Johns Hopkins, the New York Times, Worldometer, and Google BigQuery are the main webpages, data sets, or githubs available to provide data to the teams. The problem statements for this event are based on questions that lumiata’s customers have been asking during the global shutdown. The group is looking for resources for health care systems that can be built and used immediately and in the near future. Teams can develop software, machine learning models, data visualizations, or reports. Entries will be judged based on the following categories: Impact, Scale, Feasibility, and Innovation.

Other hackathons are ongoing as engineers, programmers and computer scientists work to lessen the virus’ impact on the world. MIT’s COVID-19 Challenge, which was held April 3-5, had two main topics, Protecting Vulnerable Populations and Helping Health Systems. The Devpost COVID-19 Global Hackathon, which occurred last month, will announce its winners on April 10. Health, Vulnerable Populations, Businesses, Community, Education, Entertainment, and Other were the seven broad themes for the Devpost event. Topcoder’s Anti-Coronavirus Hackathon is the first in a series from “the world’s largest open innovation community.” The challenge is centered on helping to track infected people and hot spots around the world, determining the availability of medical equipment, and managing the world’s response to the next global health crisis. The Coronavirus Hackathon sponsored by CommonVC is open to everyone and is focused on tech professionals. The group seeks to “make the world better after COVID-19,” feeding into my favorite purpose of engineering as working to make the world a better place. 

As many of us are feeling somewhat helpless during this time of quarantine, these hackathons all provide great ways to put our engineering minds to use solving problems. It’s becoming clearer that there is no one global solution to pandemics, but I’m optimistic that these events will produce results that can help to manage the crisis.

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