Big Data/COVID-19 News – 4/26/2020

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The big data ecosystem has come out strong to help combat the global coronavirus pandemic by announcing new products and services to help fight COVID-19. In this article, I’ve listed a number of the recent announcements along these lines. Kudos to all the vendors listed below, you may just make an important difference in getting the world past these trying times!

MIT Sloan Models Track COVID-19 Spread in Communities and Predict Patient Outcomes

The COVID-19 pandemic is raising critical questions regarding the dynamics of the disease, its risk factors, and the best approach to address it in healthcare systems. MIT Sloan School of Management Prof. Dimitris Bertsimas and nearly two dozen doctoral students are using machine learning and optimization to find answers. Their effort is summarized in the COVIDanalytics platform where their models are generating accurate real-time insight into the pandemic. The group is focusing on four main directions; predicting disease progression, optimizing resource allocation, uncovering clinically important insights, and assisting in the development of COVID-19 testing.

“The backbone for each of these analytics projects is data, which we’ve extracted from public registries, clinical Electronic Health Records, as well as over 120 research papers that we compiled in a new database. We’re testing our models against incoming data to determine if it makes good predictions, and we continue to add new data and use machine-learning to make the models more accurate,” says Bertsimas.

Lore IO Announces COVID-19 Data Onboarding Initiative to Accelerate Time-to-Market for Pharmaceutical Companies Working to Combat Coronavirus

Lore IO Inc., providers of an AI-powered common data model that enables unified data views and faster vendor onboarding, announced the availability of its COVID-19 Data Onboarding Initiative, a program designed to help pharmaceutical organizations shorten development cycles to speed drug readiness. The program, which is free of charge to pharma and biopharma manufacturers, allows organizations to onboard data from up to three unique sources in only 30 days instead of months which is the time it typically takes using traditional methods.

“Today, simplifying and automating vendor data onboarding is essential for streamlining the time it takes to bring critical drugs to market but, to do so often requires the ability to implement AI-driven business rules to establish a common and repeatable data model approach,” said Janardan Prasad, Chief Business Officer at Lore IO. “It’s never been more important to share our technology in the fight against the coronavirus, and Lore IO is committed to helping organizations who are moving fast to develop therapies and devices to combat COVID-19. Our initiative is designed to help them integrate disparate vendor data efficiently and effectively so they can shorten the time it takes to bring potentially lifesaving drugs to market.”

Machine Learning Models Predict COVID-19 Impact in Smaller Cities

According to a robust machine learning model that can predict pandemic impact even in smaller cities, with 75% of the population in the Capital Region in New York remaining at home, the COVID-19 pandemic will peak locally in the second half of May. If the rate of people staying home drops to 50%, it will peak in early June. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researcher Malik Magdon-Ismail tailored the models he is developing to work with sparse data points, like those available during the early phase in a pandemic or in smaller cities, which ordinarily make trend-spotting difficult.

Using county data available through the New York State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Magdon-Ismail has developed models that can predict local aspects of the pandemic such as the rate of infections over time, the infectious force of the pandemic, the rate at which mild infections become serious, and estimates for asymptomatic infections. The research model is ongoing work and, given the time-sensitive nature of the work, earlier versions have been released on the arXiv preprint server, which is moderated but not peer-reviewed.

“There are no simple, robust, general tools that, for example, officials in Albany could use to make projections,” said Magdon-Ismail, a professor of computer science, and expert in machine learning, data mining, and pattern recognition. “These models show that the projections vary enormously from one city to another. This knowledge could relieve some of the uncertainty that is around in developing policy.”

UMass Amherst Team Develops COVID-19 Forecast Hub

The Influenza Forecasting Center of Excellence team at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is developing a COVID-19 forecast hub by unifying multiple models in an effort to produce a more accurate picture of the potential impacts of the novel coronavirus.

This “ensemble approach,” which has created some of the most accurate forecasts for seasonal influenza, will give the general public, as well as policy makers and scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the White House Coronavirus Task Force, access to a centralized data repository and forecasts representing nine models and five teams of highly respected infectious-disease forecasters.

“None of these models on their own are adequate to drive policy decisions,” says Nicholas Reich, director of the UMass Influenza Forecasting Center of Excellence, one of two in the nation designated and funded by the CDC. “We’ve created a simple ensemble model to try to unify all these forecasts of COVID-19 together. Some models are overly optimistic, and others may be overly pessimistic. The reality is likely in the middle. We need the diversity of these modeling teams to understand the full range of future possibilities.”

Cleveland Clinic and SAS Share COVID-19 Predictive Models to Help Hospitals Plan for Current and Future Needs

To fight the novel coronavirus pandemic, Cleveland Clinic and SAS have created innovative models that help hospitals forecast patient volume, bed capacity, ventilator availability and more. The models, which are freely available via GitHub, provide timely, reliable information for hospitals and health departments to optimize health care delivery for COVID-19 and other patients and to predict impacts on supply chain, finance and other critical areas.

“These models can help hospitals, health care facilities, state departments of health and government agencies forecast the impact of COVID-19 and prepare for the future,” said Steve Bennett, Ph.D., Director of SAS’ Global Government Practice. “The models can also assist more vulnerable, less developed health systems in the fight against COVID-19.”

Arria Provides AI-Generated Narratives to Help Public Understand COVID-19 Data

Arria, a leader in Natural Language Generation (NLG), announced its involvement with two online initiatives that gather the latest data on COVID-19, and use Artificial Intelligence to transform the numbers into easy-to-understand written analyses of that data.

Arria’s written narratives are already available on one online dashboard at This initiative leverages a tracking sample created by Microsoft’s Power BI team for COVID-19 and draws from the latest data from USAFacts. Arria’s dashboard allows users to select their state or county and a date range to generate a localized narrative.

Later this week, Arria’s natural language technology will be incorporated into a COVID-19 live report operated by TIBCO Software Inc., which takes worldwide data supplied by Johns Hopkins University and generates a dashboard with comprehensive lists of statistics and visualizations. Arria’s contribution to this dashboard means users will immediately receive plain-language explanation of the numbers that matter most to them, whether they’re looking at worldwide totals or drilling down to the statistics for their own region.

“These tools are a way to cut through the information clutter, get straight to the facts, and keep the public informed,” says Sharon Daniels, Arria’s chief executive officer. “The sheer flood of data and information we are seeing daily about the pandemic is nearly impossible to process without the help of technology. People want information that will help them understand what’s happening, particularly in the areas where they live. But if that information is too confusing and complicated, they are going to remain confused or scared – wondering what to do, how to help, or how to keep their families safe.”

Yellowbrick to Announce Free Data Warehouse Offering

Yellowbrick announced a free access to its cloud data warehouse to give researchers and companies actively working on a vaccine for COVID-19 real-time access and insights to critical data. Yellowbrick has also partnered with Virtusa, a digital strategy and services company, in order to better serve organizations actively working on a vaccine by turning large amounts of data into an analytic platform designed for delivering time-critical insights.  

“By joining the capabilities of Virtusa and Yellowbrick, we can help customers provide real-time ingestion, faster performance, and powerful analytics,” saidAnthony Lange, SVP, Healthcare & Life Science, Virtusa. “Synthetic data sets available in vLifeTM significantly accelerate research 

Sinequa Creates an Open and Free Intelligent Insight Portal to Fight COVID-19

Sinequa, a leader in intelligent Enterprise Search, announced the creation of a scientific research repository and portal called COVID-19 Intelligent Insight to help in the fight against COVID-19. The free and open portal, built on Sinequa’s intelligent technology and expertise, was created to help professionals in science and medicine rapidly sift through and analyze the numerous and evolving research on COVID-19. The portal brings together scientific papers, publications, health authority guidance, and clinical trial information into a single interface, allowing researchers to quickly surface critical insights and analyze the vast and growing information about the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our team was compelled to help researchers access the information they need and allow them to analyze developments or trends in scientific research about the novel Coronavirus and the related disease,” said Alexandre Bilger, CEO at Sinequa. “We are bringing together publicly available scientific data and publications and giving free access to our Intelligent Search platform and its advanced natural language processing (NLP) capabilities and artificial intelligence so that researchers can find and review the emerging global evidence on the novel Coronavirus and COVID-19.”

Cal State LA researchers use data visualization, AI in fight against COVID-19 

Cal State LA researchers are joining the fight against COVID-19, developing tools that government officials and health care workers can use to make decisions during the global pandemic. 

During the past month, as coronavirus cases escalated across the United States, teams of Cal State LA faculty, students and staff have focused their academic research on areas that can help with the response to the pandemic. 

Researchers in the College of Business and Economics created an interactive data visualization dashboard that forecasts the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths by region in the U.S. and around the world. A faculty-student team in the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology developed a predictive model using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning that determines COVID-19 patient health risks and predicts mortality risk to help hospitals and medical facilities. 

“I commend our faculty, students, and staff for their continued dedication to engagement and service for the public good during this difficult and uncertain period,” said Cal State LA President William A. Covino. 

Researchers Use AI to Improve COVID-19 Diagnosis and Screening

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada have partnered with DarwinAI on a new open source project that aims to use AI to help improve COVID-19 screening. This new project could help medical professionals more quickly diagnose people, alleviating patient care bottlenecks.

The Waterloo research team has publicly released the open source project, which leverages DarwinAI’s Explainable AI software, to identify COVID-19 infections on chest x-rays faster and with greater accuracy. The team is looking to enlist expertise from around the world to help support the project. The source code documentation and datasets can be found on Github and a research paper on the findings can be found on arXiv.

LevaData Launches the Supply Risk Navigator to Help Companies Manage COVID-19 Shortages

LevaData has launched the Supply Risk Navigator to help companies rapidly detect supply chain risks, including those caused by COVID-19, and take immediate actions to mitigate them. LevaData is offering this capability to qualified high-tech companies at no cost for three months. Companies producing medical devices or equipment will receive access at no cost throughout 2020. 

“COVID-19 has exposed the supply chain resiliency gaps in most industries and caused significant supply disruptions. To help companies quickly identify and resolve supply continuity challenges, LevaData is offering a free trial of our Supply Risk Navigator during this critical period,” said Rajesh Kalidindi, CEO of LevaData. “We have built a dynamic risk management control center coupled with rapid response capabilities that help supply chain leaders restore stability and increase optionality at a critical moment in time.”

SAS releases free online learning offerings in response to COVID-19

To meet the needs of learners and professionals adapting to new daily routines brought on by COVID-19, SAS has launched flexible, free options. From short videos to interactive online courses, the SAS® training resources can introduce beginners to programming or statistics, or lead to a valuable industry credential like the SAS AI and Machine Learning Professional.

“Our COVID-19 response is rooted in helping users and learners navigate the unprecedented changes to our professional and personal lives,” said Sean O’Brien, Senior Vice President for Education at SAS. “While we understand that learning SAS may not be a top priority for everyone in these times, we want to make it as easy as we can for those who are interested and need to learn from home.”

Mindsay Offers Complimentary COVID-19 Chatbot During the Crisis

Mindsay, a leader in Customer Experience Automation (CXA) for the travel industry, announced a complimentary three-month COVID-19 customer support bot to help ease customer stress and reduce support costs by quickly answering customers’ virus-related requests.

Built for the travel and hospitality industry, Mindsay is a conversational AI platform that provides one-to-one care at scale with automated customer communications. As the COVID-19 crisis has changed the industry and world dramatically, airlines, online travel companies and hotel groups require scalable support that is quick to deploy and answers questions about how the pandemic affects their operations. Customers are under stress and faced with lengthy wait times, often not getting a response, as customer support centers are understaffed and unable to provide the needed answers at scale.

“We’re in an unprecedented crisis, and businesses cannot operate how they did just weeks before. Customers need answers to their questions, but companies may not have the staff to handle the increase in volume,” said Guillaume Laporte, Co-Founder & CEO at Mindsay. “Our platform shows a more than 7000% increase since March in questions about coronavirus and we expect this to continue to grow. To help, our bot can resolve a large number of these requests by handling conversations including vouchers, cancellations, and the latest news, so that brands can focus on weathering this storm. We absolutely believe we can get through this together.” Launches Solutions to Help Tackle COVID19, a leading healthcare AI startup, announced it has developed additional capabilities for their existing chest X-ray automation and interpretation solution that could help reduce COVID-19 induced burden on healthcare infrastructure.  

Previously, the solution could automatically generate chest X-ray interpretation reports, detect tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, lung malignancies and medical emergencies like lung collapses and cardiac disorders. Now it can additionally interpret an X-ray to detect findings indicative of COVID-19 as well as quantify the proportion of lungs affected due to the lesions. This can be used by healthcare workers for screening COVID-19 patients who need to undergo further testing as well as to monitor the progression of patients. has also developed an app-based solution, qSCOUT, for frontline health care providers. It can be used for contact tracing and remote triaging of COVID-19 patients. qSCOUT offers smartphone-based registration of patients and their contacts to remote-monitor using an integrated telehealth service. qScout also hosts an embedded AI to map hotspots for door-to-door contact tracing thereby optimizing supply chain and test kit distribution for government authorities and health workers. 

“For the last 3 weeks, we have been working on developing technology to fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Prashant Warier, CEO and Co-founder of “Our experience with tackling TB in more than 10 countries has helped. We are launching two offerings for combating COVID-19. At, we are committed to doing everything we can to fight this pandemic. We are here to help the brave and selfless healthcare workers at the frontline who are working round the clock to end this pandemic.” 

Folloze Launches COVID-19 Initiative to Support Customers and Marketing Teams in Unprecedented Times

Folloze, provider of a leading Personalized B2B Marketing Platform, announced its pledge to support others during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Through a multi-pronged initiative consisting of business solutions, best practices and community workshops, Folloze is helping the B2B marketing community, marketing agencies and organizations, and its own customers and prospects to successfully weather the current storm, bolster digital personalization capabilities, and ultimately attain their revenue goals.

“Over the past several weeks, marketing teams have demonstrated resilience, creativity and resourcefulness to help their companies navigate an uncharted marketplace,” said Etai Beck, CEO and cofounder of Folloze. To drive greater impact in these uncertain times, companies are doubling down on their ABM, digital personalization and virtual event motions. “With today’s announcement, Folloze stands ready with the tools, best practices and support to help organizations thrive despite these challenging circumstances.”

Ground Labs Introduces Free Data Discovery Solution, Enterprise Recon NOW

Ground Labs, an expert in data discovery, announced the availability of Enterprise Recon NOW, a free, limited standalone version of its industry-leading data discovery solution, Enterprise Recon. As companies transition to remote business models in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations spanning all sizes and sectors can access Enterprise Recon NOW at no cost for 90 days. Enterprise Recon Now enables enhanced data discovery and risk management across a remote workforce.

“COVID-19 has forced organizations worldwide to transition towards a remote business model. In many cases this is not only uncharted territory for an organization, but its employees as well, creating personal data being managed outside of normal policies and procedures,” said Nellie Manktelow, CEO, Ground Labs. “As the leaders in data discovery, it was important for us to offer support and a solution that can help with such a transition as well as help mitigate the risks during these unprecedented times.”

Sound Credit Union Reporting Package Helps Mitigate Impact of COVID-19

Information Builders, Inc. (IBI), a leading data and analytics company, announced that Sound Credit Union has leveraged its Analytical Data Mart System (ADMS) to create a COVID-19 visualization and reporting package for credit unions. The reporting bundle provides Sound with insights and data analytics, identifying members they can help with the financial consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

Information Builders launched the Analytical Data Mart System last year. It was engineered with Information Builders WebFOCUS BI and analytics solution to provide actionable business insights for credit unions. IBI’s powerful self-service analytics are designed exclusively for credit unions to drive strategic growth, member engagement, and cost efficiency across finance, operations, lending, and marketing.

Because of the power and ease of use of ADMS, Sound was able to build a set of 21 dashboards and reports analyzing the financial impact of COVID-19 on its members – in a matter of hours. Sound uses this package to measure member behavior, transactions, and financial flows insights throughout the Sound Credit Union system. These insights empower executives, business unit managers, and business

“We are pleased to play a part in helping innovative organizations such as Sound Credit Union use data and analytics to help their members with the daunting financial challenges created by COVID-19,” said Frank J. Vella, CEO, Information Builders. “We will continue to add capabilities to our solution that make it easier for our customers to use their data strategically, as exemplified by this timely application of our ADMS technology.”

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