Addressing a Global Pandemic Requires Global Collaboration. the COVID-19 Cognitive City Uses Data Science to Facilitate Exaptation-Based Problem Solving Related to Coronavirus.
Exaptive, Inc., in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has created a free and publicly available online environment called a “cognitive city” which is focused on combating the pandemic sweeping the globe – COVID-19. The COVID-19 Cognitive City is a single place to catalog the datasets, analyses, tools, articles, and research questions being generated by the global community about this disease. Just like physical cities have been shown to repeatably produce innovations through the diverse network interactions of their constituents, a cognitive city uses data and network analytics to drive novel research collaborations amongst researchers, data-scientists, policy makers, and the concerned citizen.
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The COVID-19 City is open to the public and designed to grow through user contributions. Exaptive and its partners believe that innovation is not the work of lone geniuses but of connected collaborative networks. As new COVID-19 knowledge assets are being released daily, the COVID-19 City acts as a single place to catalog the growing body of knowledge about the disease. With the help of interactive visualizations and network algorithms, the COVID-19 City connects interdisciplinary teams that might not normally work together and helps them find non-obvious resources that might otherwise escape their searches.
“Viruses like COVID-19 spread rapidly, but the development of vaccines and treatments to stop them moves slowly,” said Mark Suzman, Chief Executive Officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “If we want to make the world safe from outbreaks like COVID-19, particularly for those most vulnerable, then we need to find a way to make research and development move faster. That requires governments, private enterprise, and philanthropic organizations to act quickly to fund R&D.”
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“Over the last two decades we’ve seen the tremendous growth of social networks and of data science,” said Dave King, Chief Executive Officer of Exaptive, Inc., “Now when faced with COVID-19 we need to combine the power of both. A challenge like this requires not a social network, but a cognitive network in which everyone working on the problem can build off of each other’s work and not waste time recreating analyses that have already been done or reinventing tools that have already been made. By building a network of teams’ intermediate outputs we will not only allow research to move more quickly forward but will also enable the lateral thinking that opens up visibility to innovative solutions.”