Info-tech

Young minds find solutions for Covid-19 via hackathons

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on April 20, 2020 Published on April 20, 2020

Hackathons provide a platform for young minds to showcase their talent and win prizes. But today, the Government of India and social organisations like UNESCO are using hackathons as a powerful tool to find the right solution to control Covid-19 pandemic.

The Union government has announced a ₹1-lakh solution challenge on Covid-19 to involve the community in the fight against the virus.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in association with FICCI FLO Pune and Robotex International launched ‘Hack the Crisis-India’ hackathon for ideas to contain the coronavirus and develop solutions to deal with its aftermath.

Further, UNESCO, in partnership with IT majors like IBM and SAP, launched the ‘CodeTheCurve Hackathon’ to support young innovators, data scientists and designers across the world to develop digital solutions to counter the Covid-19 pandemic. CodeTheCurve will run until April 30 with participating teams working on themes like ensuring continued learning; data management and information; and societal and health issues of the present and the future.

“Solving this unprecedented global crisis will require the collective expertise and imagination of all of us,” said Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO.

Tackling Covid problems

NGOs and educational institutions are also using hackathons to find a solution to prevent the spread of Covid19.

Nearly 3,000 young minds participated in the CODE19 hackathon, which was an attempt to create a concerned community of hackers, mentors and domain experts to enable India’s fight against Covid-19, said Asha Jadeja Motwani, Founder of the Silicon Valley-based Motwani Jadeja Foundation.

By harnessing the power of collaborative computer programming, CODE19 aimed to create qualitative, open-source projects that would help solve the problems of the coronavirus, she said.

Young minds responded with their innovations. Obulapathi Akshith Varma Chittiveli of Chennai, a participant in CODE10, proposed a mobile app built and officiated by the Government of India with features like Unique Identification Login to curb the sharing of misleading Whatsapp forwards and self-assessment for Covid symptoms digitally using a score-based symptoms checker.

S Ravishankar developed an app that could alert people if they had ever crossed any Covid-19 suspects in the last 20 days. “We have processed the Google location history to ease the tracing process as they are stored in default on most of the smartphones. This raw location history is compared with the location history of suspects. If both the locations and timing crosses, the user will be alerted so that necessary precautions could be taken to avoid the spread,” he said.

Even educational institutions are not left behind. A team of three students from Manipal Institute of Technology along with other overseas team members won in one of the tracks of a cross-country hackathon — Beat the Pandemic — conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to build solutions for Covid-19.

MIT had conducted the 48-hour virtual event to help tackle the most critical needs caused by the virus outbreak. The students from Manipal Institute teamed up with Melia Watson (a respiratory therapist from Washington) and worked on the proof of concepts, prototypes, and preliminary vision.

Collective minds can solve any puzzle. That’s what the bright minds are doing now through hackathons to find a solution to curb the pandemic.

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

Published on April 20, 2020
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor