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Dear friends,

Last week, I asked readers to tell me what they’re doing to address the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of you wrote to say you’re taking actions such as shopping for neighbors, making masks, and creating posters that promote Covid-safe practices (see the campaign by Luter Filho, a creative director and designer in Berlin, below).

Several members of the community are rising to meet the challenges of Covid-19 by building AI and other software projects:

  • Arturo MP, a natural language engineer in Toronto, along with friends and associates organized a Spanish-language Covid-19 news archive and Twitter feed to address the shortage of information in languages other than English.
  • Hermes Ribeiro Sant Anna, a machine learning engineer in São Paulo, Brazil, built a web app that highlights surfaces prone to coronavirus contamination by human touch.
  • Fernanda Wanderley, a data scientist in São Paulo, Brazil, helped develop free X-ray interpretation software (in Portuguese) to triage Covid-19 patients.
  • Oscar Alexander Kirschstein Schafer at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid is organizing open hackathons to come up with ways to fight the pandemic.
  • Josh Brown-Kramer, a data scientist in Lincoln, Nebraska, is testing people for Covid-19 in small groups and testing individuals only if the group that includes them tests positive. This pooling approach theoretically improves test throughput by 50 percent, he writes, although he has not received independent verification.
  • Federico Lucca in Trento, Italy, is working with the University of Trento on ultrasound interpretation software to recognize lung problems related to Covid-19.

It’s exciting to see the community helping to keep families, neighborhoods, and towns healthy. Your efforts are an inspiration as I develop my own projects to keep the virus at bay and help everyone heal and rebuild. In the future, we will look back on these days with sadness, but also with pride that our community’s creativity and ingenuity can have a positive impact on a global scale.

Stay safe and keep learning!



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