LOS ANGELES – Jan. 25, 2021 – XPRIZE, the world’s leader in designing and operating incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges, in partnership with Cognizant (Nasdaq: CTSH), 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, maximizing their ability to keep local economies open while minimizing potential virus breakouts. Additionally, organizers hope the Challenge will advance the use of AI and data in addressing other humanitarian challenges.
Finalist teams were selected from 104 semifinalists 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:
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 maximize 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 analyzing 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 minimizing the number of cases and minimizing 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.
XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. Active competitions include the $20 Million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $10 Million Rainforest XPRIZE, the $10 Million ANA Avatar XPRIZE, the $5 Million IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, $5 Million XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling, $5 Million XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing, and $500K Pandemic Response Challenge. For more information, visit xprize.org.
Cognizant (Nasdaq-100: CTSH) is one of the world's leading professional services companies, transforming clients' business, operating and technology models for the digital era. Our unique industry-based, consultative approach helps clients envision, build and run more innovative and efficient businesses. Headquartered in the U.S., Cognizant is ranked 194 on the Fortune 500 and is consistently listed among the most admired companies in the world. Learn how Cognizant helps clients lead with digital at www.cognizant.com or follow us @Cognizant.
For more information, contact: