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The Big Q: How can a developer help the fight against COVID-19?

Posted on 23/03/2020
by Client Server

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Q: I'm a senior developer who's now working from home. I want to do more to help stop the outbreak of COVID-19, but aside from washing my hands and staying inside, I'm not sure what I can do. What are some ways people like me working in tech can help?


A: The tech industry's innate ability for solving problems means it can have a big impact in fighting the new Coronavirus. Developers and engineers around the world have launched projects geared towards tackling the threat of COVID-19. Many of these are open source and drawing upon worldwide expertise. Here are three of our recent favourites: 

CODEVID19 - A COVID-19 Hackathon

The world’s brightest minds will collaborate in a  hackathon to fight the COVID-19 crisis.

​The team behind HackZurich is calling on developers around the world to join in a 72 hour hackathon this week to build solutions to tackle the Coronavirus. 

"The goal is to develop open-source prototypes, which contribute to solving the most pressing challenges in the current crisis. We want to build on existing solutions and technologies to prevent duplications and want to enable a sustainable impact after the hackathon to take projects to the next level and implement them for our daily life and work."

Sign up for the hackathon here: 


Folding@Home: How Your PC Can Help in the Fight Against COVID-19

With large numbers of developers now working at home, one of the easiest ways you can help fight the spread of COVID-19 is by giving up a little bit of your computing power. 

Stamford University's Folding@Home project is a distributed computing project for simulating protein dynamics, including the process of protein folding and the movements of protein implicated in a variety of diseases. The idea was to have a network of volunteers run protein dynamics simulations on their personal computers to provide insights that might help researchers develop new therapeutics.

The new goal of the Folding@home project is modelling the structure of 2019-nCoV spike protein to identify sites that can be targeted by a therapeutic antibody.

"In this age of supercomputers, donating personal GPU and CPU computing power might sound like drop in the bucket. But we are seeing the importance of community action in these difficult times, and it is believed that the cumulative power of home computers and citizen scientists united towards a common goal can positively contribute to global research on the coronavirus," the project says. 

You can download Folding@Home from the project page.


Detecting COVID-19 in X-ray images with Keras, TensorFlow, and Deep Learning

Pyimagesearch's Adrian Rosebrock's detailed post outlines how developers can use Keras, TensorFlow, and Deep Learning to detect COVID-19 in X-rays. 

Adrian explains how to: 

  • Sample an open source dataset of X-ray images for patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 
  • Sample “normal” (i.e., not infected) X-ray images from healthy patients
  • Train a CNN to automatically detect COVID-19 in X-ray images via the dataset we created
  • Evaluate the results from an educational perspective

Learn more about the project here.


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