ML & AI | September 15, 2020 Launches COVID-19 Grand Challenge

Data Science Competition Will Award $200,000 in Cash Prizes Continues to Invest in COVID-19 Research to Mitigate Future Pandemics and Support Innovation for Public Good

Redwood City, CA — (BUSINESS WIRE) — Sept. 15, 2020 –, a leading enterprise artificial intelligence (AI) software provider for accelerating digital transformation, today welcomes data scientists, developers, researchers, and creative thinkers from around the world to participate in the™ COVID-19 Grand Challenge. The competition invites participants to leverage data science techniques in new and innovative ways to generate insights that previously were neither apparent nor achievable.

“The COVID-19 Grand Challenge represents an opportunity to inform decision makers at the local, state, and federal levels and transform the way the world confronts this pandemic,” said Thomas M. Siebel, CEO of “As with the COVID-19 Data Lake and the Digital Transformation Institute, this initiative will tap our community’s collective IQ to make important strides toward necessary, innovative solutions that will help solve a global crisis.”


What Makes a Great Solution

In response to the acute challenges the world faces, the judging panel will prioritize data science projects that help us understand and mitigate the spread of the virus; improve the response capabilities of the medical community; minimize the impact of this disease on society; and help policymakers navigate responses to COVID-19.

Projects may address, but are not limited to:

  • Applying machine learning and other AI methods to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Genome-specific COVID-19 medical protocols, including precision medicine of host responses
  • Biomedical informatics methods for drug design and repurposing
  • Design and sharing of clinical trials for collecting data on medications, therapies, and interventions
  • Modeling, simulation, and prediction for understanding COVID-19 propagation and efficacy of interventions
  • Logistics and optimization analysis for design of public health strategies and interventions
  • Rigorous approaches to designing sampling and testing strategies
  • Data analytics for COVID-19 research harnessing private and sensitive data
  • Improving societal resilience in response to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Broader efforts in biomedicine, infectious disease modeling, response logistics and optimization, public health efforts, tools, and methodologies around the containment of rising infectious diseases and response to pandemics.


Award Criteria

A panel of judges will evaluate submissions on the extent to which they derive insights, leveraging data science techniques (e.g., statistical analyses, AI/ML algorithms, optimization approaches, etc.) that were not obvious before.

  • Pat House, Vice Chairman,
  • Mike Callagy, County Manager, County of San Mateo
  • Richard Levin, and Former President Emeritus, Yale University
  • S. Shankar Sastry, Co-Director, Digital Transformation Institute and Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences, UC Berkeley
  • Zico Kolter, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University

The competition is now open with a registration deadline of Oct. 25 and a submission deadline of Nov. 18, 2020. To learn more about how to submit proposals, please visit

By Dec. 9, 2020, will announce seven competition winners and award $200,000 in cash prizes to the honorees.

  • Prizes – There will be one Grand Prize of $100,000, two second-place awards of $25,000 each, and four third-place awards of $12,500 each.
  • Publication – The winners will have their work published by COVID-19 Data Lake Expands

The™ COVID-19 Data Lake, launched in April 2020, continues to expand and now consists of 40 unique datasets, making it the largest unified, federated image of COVID-19 data in the world. Researchers and developers worldwide can access this free, open-source resource to build models, run analytics, develop tools, and more, without the time and effort of data wrangling.

As part of the COVID-19 Grand Challenge, applicants will be required to use the COVID-19 Data Lake as a resource to generate new and innovative solutions.

The latest datasets to be integrated into the Data Lake include:

For additional information about the COVID-19 Data Lake, please visit:

To learn more about the COVID-19 Grand Challenge, please visit


About is a leading AI software provider for accelerating digital transformation. delivers the C3 AI Suite for developing, deploying, and operating large-scale AI, predictive analytics, and IoT applications in addition to an increasingly broad portfolio of turn-key AI applications. The core of the offering is a revolutionary, model-driven AI architecture that dramatically enhances data science and application development. Contact:
April Marks
Director of Public Relations


Posted by Jennifer Stern

Executive Director, Siebel Scholars Foundation

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