Artificial Intelligence: The White House Spearheads Global Effort to Analyze Coronavirus Research Database for Clues

March 17, 2020 | Artificial Intelligence, News

The White House, the crème-de-la-crème of tech companies, universities and health institutes are in a race against time to stop coronavirus in its tracks.

About 29,000 articles and research papers on the deadly coronavirus have been amassed into a research database titled COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19). It is the most comprehensive compilation of coronavirus-related literature to date. Best of all, it is machine-readable, rendering it ideal for analysis by artificial intelligence (AI). (STAT)

Natural language processing algorithms can now mine the data for insights. These could answer urgent questions about the nature of the virus.

AI in a call to action against coronavirus

Infections and fatalities are mounting globally. Scientists are racing against the clock to get a handle on the disease and slow or stop its spread. AI can come up with critical answers for scientists on the four fronts of prediction, detection, response and recovery on the coronavirus and other virulent infections.

In a crunch situation like the current outbreak, AI can organize, summarize and glean valuable clues from the existing global database of research already undertaken on the virus.

Further, a coordinated, bird’s eye view can be formed to get a grip on the nature of the beast, paving the way for a global response pending the development of a cure or vaccine.

White House initiative

The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy spearheaded the move to create the database. The following organizations collaborated on the project:

  1. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) – the company provided its literature curation tools.
  2. The Allen Institute for AI converted the content into a form that would be machine-readable.
  3. The National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine – the Institute provided access to literature content.
  4. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative — it provided access to articles that have been posted on preprint servers but not yet peer-reviewed. (This is the philanthropic vehicle of Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan)
  5. Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology – coordinated the entire project

“Decisive action from America’s science and technology enterprise is critical to prevent, detect, treat, and develop solutions to COVID-19,” said Michael Kratsios, U.S. Chief Technology Officer, The White House, in a statement. “The White House will continue to be a strong partner in this all-hands-on-deck approach.”

“We…call on the United States research community to put artificial intelligence technologies to work in answering key scientific questions about the novel Coronavirus,” Mr. Kratsios added.

Moreover, a World Health Organization report last month said that AI and big data were crucial elements in China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.


The COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19) is being hosted on Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Kaggle service. New research will be added to the database as and when complete.

Related Story:  Artificial Intelligence: Alibaba’s AI System Detects Coronavirus With 96% Accuracy

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