COVID-19 data resources for volunteering data scientists

As the world comes to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic, various efforts are emerging to harness the talents of analysts, AI developers and data engineers. These initiatives can provide individuals and teams the opportunity to do something meaningful, work with others and learn new skills.

“No doubt statistical and predictive models need to be built to serve the science community, which is working hard to understand the virus, treatment efficacies and develop vaccinations,” said Joshua Swartz, a partner in digital transformation at Kearney, a global strategy and management consulting firm. “What developers can do is help the science community conduct these analyses and make sense of the results.”

Pivoting for the cause

Various vendors are jumping to offer their own unique talents as well.

David Leichner, CMO at SQream, an SQL GPU data warehouse vendor, said they’re building on prior volunteer efforts around cancer research and DNA analytics to find correlations of various indicators to build a risk model that takes into account demographics, density of urban areas, smoking habits and more.

Tiffany Jachja, technical evangelist at Harness, a continuous-delivery-as-a-service provider, said her firm has shifted most of their developer talent to building out dashboards to help track the spread of coronavirus. The goal is to offer a trusted free place where people can track the spread of COVID-19. Analysts can also incorporate these into their own apps.


The largest coordinated project of the many COVID-19 data resources is probably the Kaggle COVID-19 Open Research Dataset Challenge, also called CORD-19. It was prompted by a White House call to action and brings together prizes, data sources and collaboration opportunities for data analysts who want to help.

CORD-19 asks participants to solve current questions by developing text and data mining tools for various data sets and thousands of scientific papers and reports.

“The call was issued in the hope…

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