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$500k Pandemic Response Challenge finalists announced by Cognizant and XPRIZE

48 finalist teams from 17 countries advance in Cognizant-sponsored competition, competing for $500K Challenge from XPRIZE; Teams competing in Phase 2 will develop artificial intelligence-driven models to prescribe actions for safely reopening society and limiting economic impact while minimising COVID-19 transmissions

XPRIZE, the world’s leader in designing and operating incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges, in partnership with Cognizant, one of the world’s leading technology and professional services companies, today announced that 48 teams from 17 countries are advancing to the final round of the $500K Pandemic Response Challenge.

Since the initial approval of COVID-19 vaccines in December 2020, the global pandemic has raged on – more than 25 million additional people have been diagnosed with the disease. The competition aims to harness the power of data and artificial intelligence in equipping policymakers, health officials, and business leaders with insights and guidance necessary to implement public safety measures and safely deliver the vaccine, maximising their ability to keep local economies open while minimising potential virus breakouts. Additionally, organisers hope the Challenge will advance the use of AI and data in addressing other humanitarian challenges.

Finalist teams were selected from 104 semi-finalists from 28 countries following an independent judging panel’s assessment of teams’ predictions of COVID-19 transmission rates and patterns.

The 48 finalist teams are:

  • ADVANCE4COVID, United States
  •   Alphanumerics, United States
  •   BeatCovid, Canada
  •   Big Green, United States
  •   Bioinfo, Sweden
  •   Blitzkrieg Bop, China
  •   Blue Insight, Romania
  •   Bologna Against COVID, Italy
  •   BOSS, United States
  •   CCR, Canada
  •   CGlorioso (X-Glo), United States
  •   CoronaSurveys, Spain
  •   DropTableUsers, China
  •   DSN, Nigeria
  •   DuAI, China
  •   EazyML Team – Innovators of Transparent ML Platform, United States
  •   H-A-L-O AI – Digital Vaccine, United States
  •   IISc-GCDSL, India
  •   JSI vs COVID, Slovenia
  •   Kangaroos, Australia
  •   KASSANDRA, Greece
  •   Klakinn, Iceland
  •   KorkinLabWPI, United States
  •   lnb51451, United States
  •   M-montreal-quebec, Canada
  •   metis2020, United States
  •   Monster Response, Canada
  •   mvsm, Germany
  •   Nebraska team, United States
  •   Nixtamal AI, Mexico
  •   Nnet-Elsinore, Denmark
  •   PAndemic Wave Predictor (PaWP), United States
  •   Pathcheck, United States
  •   Predii, United States
  •   Salus, United States
  •   Shanvi, United States
  •   SZU, China
  •   Tanjo, United States
  •   TBSI, China
  •   Team IMPACT, United States
  •   Team-Prawn, China
  •   The COVariates, Canada
  •   transatlantic, France
  •   University of Central Florida, United States
  •   USC COVID-19 Team, United States
  •   VA-uOttawa, Canada
  •   VALENCIA, Spain
  •    VinTeam, United States

The top 3 finalist countries are: U.S. (20), Canada (6), and China (6). The Challenge received the most team pre-registrations overall from the U.S. (42).

“The finalists in the Pandemic Response Challenge have demonstrated incredible innovation in their efforts to help the world emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Brian Humphries, Chief Executive Officer of Cognizant. “Advancements these teams are making can have far-reaching implications – empowering policy-makers and business leaders globally with data-driven tools, informing countries’ decisions about their re-opening strategies, and proving the value of AI and collaboration in addressing future humanitarian crises.”

“Within a very short time frame, this challenge has shown encouraging results that leverage artificial intelligence at the service of social impact,” said Amir Banifatemi, Chief Innovation and Growth Officer of XPRIZE. “We set out to maximise the power of collaboration, competition, and innovation to accelerate solutions that could be applied to COVID-19 and future pandemics. We are excited to see how some of the top problem solvers are working towards this challenge, and we look forward to sharing their solutions with the world soon.”

Launched in November 2020, the Pandemic Response Challenge is comprised of two phases. In Phase 1, concluded earlier this month, contestants were tasked with analysing local COVID-19 data, intervention strategies, and mitigation policies to develop and test a prediction model that could anticipate global infection spikes. The teams had access to foundational models from Cognizant’s Evolutionary AI™ team, which applied artificial intelligence to COVID-19 data sourced from Oxford University and John Hopkins in Spring 2020.

Finalists have until February 3, 2021, to complete Phase 2, which involves developing a prescriptor model – or prescribed action plan – from a reference prediction model, which will be provided in Phase 2. Prescriptor models will be evaluated against key benchmarks, including minimising the number of cases and minimising the stringency (i.e. cost) of intervention plans. Throughout Phase 2, teams will be provided with cloud and computing services, courtesy of supporting partner AWS, to facilitate development of their proposed solutions.

Cognizant and XPRIZE will award a prize purse of $500K at the conclusion of the challenge on February 26, 2021.

For more information on the challenge guidelines, judging panel, and more, visit xprize.org/pandemicresponse.