Published: 10th October 2020
These US researchers are tracking COVID-19 with Google's help. Here's how
CMU received $1 million from Google.org and a team of 13 Google.org Fellows to work pro bono for six months to help continue building out COVIDcast
As there will be more pandemics and epidemics after COVID-19, the world needs to be prepared and a research team at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has been working to make epidemiological forecasting as universal as weather forecasting.
When COVID hit, they launched COVIDcast to develop data monitoring and forecasting resources that can help public health officials, researchers, and the public make informed decisions.
"Our forecasting system has been a top performer at the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) annual forecasting challenges. I like to think of COVIDcast as a replica of what we've done for the flu but better and faster," said Ryan Tibshirani, a research lead at CMU.
Last month, CMU received $1 million from Google.org and a team of 13 Google.org Fellows to work pro bono for six months to help continue building out COVIDcast. This was part of Google.org's $100 million commitment to COVID relief. The 'COVIDcast' project is about building and providing an ecosystem for COVID-19 tracking and forecasting.
"Our aim is to support informed decision-making at federal, state, and local levels of government, in the healthcare sector, and beyond," Tibshirani said in a Google post. "We share both our data and a range of software tools -- from data processing and visualization to sophisticated statistical tools".
With Google's funding, the research team hopes they can help accelerate their progress and introduce themselves to leading industry product and software development techniques.
"The tech sector is uniquely positioned to provide data and platforms that even governments can't provide. It also has the skills and experience to quickly assemble large-scale systems, in real-time. Google has been extraordinarily helpful to us on all of these fronts," Tibshirani said.