Challenge launched to create predictive AI models for Covid

By Leila Hawkins
Participants will build data models to predict local rates of infection...

An LA-based non-profit company has launched a competition to develop AI models that can predict COVID-19 transmission rates. 

XPRIZE, an organisation that hosts challenges to find technological solutions that can benefit humanity, has partnered with tech company Cognizant to launch the challenge, for which 102 teams of people from 23 countries have already signed up. 

The teams will build AI models that predict local COVID-19 transmission rates based on data compiled by the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker. The aim is to then use the models to help prescribe intervention and mitigation measures that can reduce infection rates as well as negative economic impacts. 

It is hoped the successful models will serve as a roadmap for future crises, and potentially help policymakers and health officials to make decisions on reopening economies until a vaccine becomes widely available. 

The Pandemic Response Challenge will last a total of four months split into two phases. In Phase 1, teams will provide their predictions of COVID-19 transmission based on local data, intervention strategies, and mitigation policies. 

In Phase 2, the top 50 teams will provide prescriptor models that will be evaluated against reducing the number of cases and reducing the cost of intervention plans. 

A total prize of $500K will be awarded at the end of the challenge, which will close in February 2021. 

The Pandemic Response Challenge is the first competition to launch out of XPRIZE’s AI and Data for Good Alliance, a trust that aims to find solutions to the world's biggest challenges through the use of data sciences, machine learning and AI.

XPRIZE have launched past challenges covering a wide range of topics, including creating mobile apps to improve reading and writing in developing nations, and building a spaceship. Incidentally the company's CEO, Anousheh Ansari, was the first Muslim woman to go into space in 2006. 

“This challenge will inspire some of the world’s brightest innovators to address the immediate threats to our economies and our livelihoods” Amir Banifatemi, Chief Innovation and Growth Officer of XPRIZE said. 

“Through global collaboration, the output of this challenge could be a game changer when it comes to using data and AI to create a route to recovery via a range of economic scenarios created by the competing teams. With vaccines on the horizon, these predictive and prescriptive models for opening society will continue to be valuable for the foreseeable future.”


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