Facebook, Carnegie Mellon, U of Maryland team up on COVID-19 symptom data challenge

Facebook Data for Good, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Maryland are partnering with digital health company Catalyst to launch a COVID-19 symptom data challenge that aims to support earlier detection of virus outbreaks.

Challenge participants will use aggregated data from the COVID-19 Symptom Surveys, which were launched in the spring by Facebook Data for Good, University of Maryland's joint program in survey methodology and Carnegie Mellon University. Since starting the surveys, the organizations have received more than 25 million responses across 200-plus countries and territories, according to the Sept. 2 news release.

Participants will develop new analytic approaches to boost situational awareness of coronavirus outbreaks. In addition to the symptom data, participants will also have access to publicly available datasets to validate predictive capabilities of the symptom data.

"Symptom survey data has the potential to point both policy makers and the general public to one of the earliest indicators of the virus," said Farzad Mostashari, CEO of health tech startup Aledade and challenge chair. "We think this challenge is an amazing opportunity for members of the data analytics and visualization communities to make use of syndromic data to develop solutions that can support the national COVID-19 response."

Applications for the first phase of the challenge will be accepted through Sept. 29. This phase requires participants to summarize their approach, methods, analysis and findings of their analytic approach using the symptom survey data.


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