Community & Events

The Power of Community: Amii Supports CODEVID-19

The Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) is proud to be a supporter of high-impact, community-driven initiatives like CODEVID-19. 

“CODEVID-19 has demonstrated the powerful role community plays in innovation,” says Warren Johnston, Managing Director of Community Engagement at Amii. “Over the past six weeks, we’ve seen some fantastic collaborations that have sparked some big ideas and interesting solutions to the many challenges facing the world as a result of the global pandemic.”

Hackathons provide a ground floor from which multidisciplinary teams can imagine, design and innovate. Similarly, CODEVID-19 has become a catalyst for critical tools and resources that will be used the world over in the weeks and months to come. 

First launched on March 16, 2020, CODEVID-19 began as a conversation among members of the Dev Edmonton Society in Edmonton, Canada. The six-week-long event grew quickly, reaching more than 1,000 collaborators in less than seven days. 

In its final week, the CODEVID-19 hackathon boasted more than 1,800 contributors from 56 countries across five continents. Over 50 teams offered solutions that met challenges in supporting crisis response, understanding the pandemic, social distancing & isolation, and scarcity & the economy.

Three of the projects were recently featured at the 49th edition of Startup Edmonton’s DemoCamp and in a follow-up blog post by Mack Male

First was Charity Shop Exchange, a UK-based platform that applies the increasingly popular subscription box model to charity shops (of which there are more than 10,000 in the UK). Here in Canada, we usually call those thrift stores (places like Goodwill or Value Village). On Charity Shop Exchange, you input the things you like to watch and read, then the site will buy those from the store and deliver them to you. It’s a way to support isolation.

Next was Trusted Locals, a platform that helps locals share information about their current on-site situation “in an organised and audited way.” Users can submit posts such as where they saw toilet paper available. Then other users can confirm or disconfirm it, which informs a confidence score for the post. The idea is to help others around you with more trustworthy information. The developers are also looking to scrape social media sites like Twitter for information.

Next up was Where Have I Been which lets users record all of the places they’ve visited on a day-to-day basis. Check-in apps aren’t new, but what this one lets you do in addition is see how risky the places you visited were. If a user self-reports that they have COVID-19 symptoms, the app will notify other users who visited the same places in the last two weeks. You can also view high risk locations in your area on a map.

(Text courtesy Mack Male of MasterMaq’s Blog)

“Amii is proud to stand alongside our tech and innovation communities,” says Johnston. “The organizers have done a fantastic job, working with the Dev Edmonton Society, rallying a diverse community of designers, developers and subject matter experts for CODEVID-19. We’re thrilled at the progress teams have made and are excited to see the innovative solutions that have been developed over the past six weeks.”

Although the CODEVID-19 hackathon has concluded, there’s still time to vote for your favourite project.

Cross-posted on the CODEVID-19 site.


About Amii

One of Canada’s three centres of AI excellence as part of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, Amii (the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute) is an Alberta-based non-profit institute that supports world-leading research in artificial intelligence and machine learning and translates scientific advancement into industry adoption. Amii grows AI capabilities through advancing leading-edge research, delivering exceptional educational offerings and providing business advice – all with the goal of building in-house AI capabilities. For more information, visit amii.ca