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AI Versus the Coronavirus


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A new consortium of top scientists will be able to use some of the world's most advanced supercomputers to look for solutions. From a report: Advanced computers have defeated chess masters and learned how to pick through mountains of data to recognize faces and voices. Now, a billionaire developer of software and artificial intelligence is teaming up with top universities and companies to see if A.I. can help curb the current and future pandemics. Thomas M. Siebel, founder and chief executive of C3.ai, an artificial intelligence company in Redwood City, Calif., said the public-private consortium would spend $367 million in its initial five years, aiming its first awards at finding ways to slow the new coronavirus that is sweeping the globe. "I cannot imagine a more important use of A.I.," Mr. Siebel said in an interview. Known as the C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute, the new research consortium includes commitments from Princeton, Carnegie Mellon, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California, the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago, as well as C3.ai and Microsoft. It seeks to put top scientists onto gargantuan social problems with the help of A.I. -- its first challenge being the pandemic. The new institute will seek new ways of slowing the pathogen's spread, speeding the development of medical treatments, designing and repurposing drugs, planning clinical trials, predicting the disease's evolution, judging the value of interventions, improving public health strategies and finding better ways in the future to fight infectious outbreaks.

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