Saturday, December 3, 2022
Published 3 Years Ago on Wednesday, Apr 15 2020 By Inside Telecom Staff
The majority of
us are not healthcare workers or scientists and so may be feeling a little
helpless at the moment. We can of course do out bit by staying inside and
washing our hands, but is there anything else we can do? Luckily technology
once again, provides an answer. Thanks to the internet, social media, and Big
Data-driven analytics, there are a number of projects anyone can get involved
with from home. And they could play an important part in limiting the loss of
life caused by the pandemic.
The majority of these projects are
powered by data and also demonstrate how crowdsourcing can crunch through
masses of data can improve our chances of fighting the disease. Crowdsourced
data acts as a honeypot for medical technology and pharmaceutical companies.
The process of collecting enough data to create vaccines and cures through
traditional methods takes time and costs money.
During past epidemics and pandemics,
these initiatives were not available for us as our ability to collaboratively
collect and analyse data was much less developed.
If you have even the slightest
experience and knowledge of data science, then you will find numerous things
that you can help out with at Kaggle, Google’s own crowdsourced data science
datasets from the World Health Organization collated by Johns Hopkins
University, as well as a library of 29,000 published articles, you can put your
skills to work by taking on tasks including predicting the spread of the virus,
how long it is likely to affect certain parts of the world, or what the impact
of factors such as weather, economy, etc. will be on overall statistics.
If you are not
too familiar with data science, there are other organisations offering ways to
support the fight against the pandemic.
become hugely popular and is a long-running crowdsourced initiative using
donated computing power to simulate protein folding, and tackle other medical
data problems. It has been using the spare power of ‘idle’ computers in
people’s homes to go through data since the beginning of the outbreak. By doing
this, it hopes to identify proteins in the virus that could be treated with
medicine. To get involved, all you need to do is download the programme and run
it on your computer. Since the project began, the amount of power donated has
been over one exaFLOP (that’s 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 computing operations
If spare computer
power is not something that you have, then another option is to donate your
data. Kings College London has developed an application called the C-19 Symptom
tracker. The application collects anonymous information to help match symptoms
and diagnosed cases of COVID-19. It establishes which symptoms mean you
probably have a cold and those that mean you should be tested, also helping
people know the right time to isolate. The project uses machine learning and
over 2 million people have signed up for it. This data has helped to confirm
that a loss of smell and taste are some of the most common indicators. This was
not well known at the beginning of the outbreak.
crowdsourced collection of information designed to be parsed by humans rather
than machines, look no further than the Coronavirus Tech Handbook project,
led by Edward Saperia. This started as a collection of medical information
intended for doctors and other healthcare professionals, but it has quickly
become a collection of knowledge and advice on subjects from hygiene and
staying safe, to coping with home working and schooling. If your own unique
situation has led you to develop some specialist knowledge or strategies, this
is an ideal place to share them.
yet another crowdsourcing portal that has come up with a number of initiatives
aimed at gathering data on the best way to fight the virus. Information is currently
being collected to make freely-available databases of solutions and services
that have emerged in response to coronavirus around the world, and to highlight
areas where more investigation is needed into the impact of the virus.
These projects and
initiatives would not have been possible during previous pandemics and epidemics
– simply because the infrastructure to collect and process data was not there. There were not as many ways to encourage
people to become involved. A challenge after this pandemic is over, will be to
maintain the momentum to develop new solutions that will hopefully stop
anything like this from happening in the first place.
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