Corona pandemic: Fighting COVID-19 with crowdsourcing
September 22, 2020
How is crowdsourcing helping in the face of the COVID 19 pandemic? Can the “crowd” help to defeat the virus? The following are four interesting projects that work free of charge.
Corona data donation: Improving our understanding of the virus spread
The Robert Koch Institute launched the Corona data donation app on April 7, 2020. The app processes anonymized data from Smartwatches and fitness bracelets. An algorithm calculates how the infection spreads on a large scale without having to test people individually. This enables the spread of COVID-19 to be monitored and, as a result, shows whether the selected Corona measures help or not.
Obviously, the more people install the app, the better and more accurate the data for fighting the virus becomes. This is where the crowd helps in the fight against Corona.
Computer game against Corona
It sounds rather bizarre, but it’s true: you and everyone else can fight the virus with the help of a computer game. The game is called “Foldit”. The aim of the game is to fold a protein so that it reaches the state of minimum energy. This is the form in which proteins occur in nature. It is relatively easy for scientists and computers to determine the biosynthesis and coding as DNA of proteins. However, even supercomputers can provide only imperfect information about what the protein really looks like in nature, i.e., how it is folded. This is where they rely on the help of the crowd.
In Foldit, the players try out or combine different “folds”, permitting them to discover the structure of the COVID-19 virus, for example. The better its structure is known, the better it can be fought.
Download of the game and instructions can be accessed at: fold.it
Supercomputers from the crowd
Another way to fight the corona virus as a crowd is to make your PC part of a supercomputer. This can be done with FOLDINGATHOME. Office applications or surfing the Internet leave a large part of the performance of many computers unused. You can “donate” this by downloading the Foldingathome software. It uses the unused resources to work together with other computers to “understand SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 and develop new therapies.”
Again, it is obvious that the more computers, i.e., the larger the crowd, the greater the computer capacity and, therefore, the chance that the project will be successful.
The German Corona warning app should not be missing in this list either. Although the app does not work directly against Corona, you fight the virus indirectly by preventing its spread. The app notifies you if you have had contact with an infected person. If such contact has occurred, you can contact the public health department to arrange a test. Of course you should then avoid other people, etc.
Summary: Free crowdsourcing is a significant factor in the fight against Corona
It is hardly surprising that the crowd helps in the fight against a pandemic, i.e., a disease spreading across countries and continents. The more people who participate in projects, use apps and follow the rules, the easier it will be to contain SARS-CoV-2.
The important thing here is the rule that applies to all free crowdsourcing projects: the work tasks for the crowd must directly affect their lives. This is certainly the case with COVID-19. That is why people participate.
No doubt, thanks to the cooperation of the “masses” in the near future, the Corona crisis will no longer determine the present, but will only be a memory.
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