Editorial

Beijing using AI, Big Data, cloud, Blockchain and 5G to combat COVID-19

China actively leveraged digital technologies to improve the efficiency of its efforts in epidemic monitoring, virus tracking, prevention, control and treatment, and resource allocation, claims the PRC

Posted 14 April 2020 by

Chinese authorities claim to be using a clutch of advanced technologies in their apparently successful struggle to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus that leads to people catching the COVID-19 disease.

These, according to a post on the World Economic Forum’s site this week, include Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, cloud computing, Blockchain, and 5G – with a range of private-sector Chinese companies making their algorithms publicly available to improve efficiency and to support coronavirus testing and research.

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These included, states the report, Baidu Research open-sourcing its LinearFold linear-time AI algorithm so as to reduce the time taken to predict and study coronavirus’s RNA secondary structure from 55 minutes to just 27 seconds, as well as improving the speed of predicting and studying coronavirus‘s RNA secondary structure by 120 times.

Another example of leveraging advanced technology to fight COVID-19 is claimed to be how local Internet firm Qihoo 360 released a so-say “Big Data Migration Map” which users can access through mobile phones or computers to view the migration trend of the Chinese mainland from January 1, 2020 up to date – something claimed to be “an important means of understanding and predicting changes in the epidemic situation nationwide”.

And on the Blockchain front, Lianfei Technology launched the nation’s first blockchain epidemic monitoring platform, a tool said to be helping track the progress of COVID-19 in all of China’s provinces in real time, registering the relevant epidemic data on the chain so that the data can be traced and cannot be tampered with.

“China actively leveraged digital technologies [and so] effectively improved the efficiency of the country’s efforts in epidemic monitoring, virus tracking, prevention, control and treatment, and resource allocation,” claims the blog’s author, QI Xiaoxia, Director of the General of the Bureau of International Cooperation at the country’s Cyberspace Administration.

“China’s practice has proven that the new-generation information technologies have unique advantages and can play an important role in responding to major public health challenges,” Xiaoxia concludes, before suggesting the next step must be opening up wider access to data on a global scale.

“Countries must share their learnings and work together.

“By doing so, they can collectively find the solutions needed to fight the virus and save lives.”