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Discussion with the Winner of Xprize Pandemic Response Challenge

Updated: May 12






On this podcast I am joined by Risto Miikkulainen from Cognizant and by Dr. Nuria Oliver from Valencia Spain who led her team IA4COVID19 to victory in the Cognizant sponsored Xprize Pandemic Response Challenge which was a four month, $500k challenge that focused on the development of data-driven AI systems to predict Covid-19 infection rates and prescribe intervention plans that regional governments, communities and organizations can implement to minimize harm when reopening their economies. Dr. Oliver's team was made up of 20 leading researchers and policy experts from universities and research institutes throughout Valencia, Spain.


Click through to see time stamps of the discussion for easier listening.


Transcript Time Stamps:

2:16 - Risto tells us about the origins of the Xprize Challenge and why it is so important

4:09 - Dr. Oliver talks about her background and how her work on other pandemics led her to being in a position to put a team together to advice the regional government of Valencia from the beginning of Covid and how that led to entering the Xprize Challenge

8:07 - Dr. Oliver tells us about her team

10:33 - Risto tells us about the different phases of the competition and what challenges competitors faced

12:55 - Dr. Oliver talks about how she and her team approached the competition, how they leveraged their strengths, key strategic approaches and more

18:00 - Dr. Oliver responds to a question I have around whether diversity was a key competitive advantage of her team

21:02 - Risto tells us what he thinks really made Dr. Oliver and her team stand out from the rest of the competition

22:52 - We discuss how this could be applied to other issues and using AI and competitions in general for policy development

32:34 - We discuss the differences, and pluses and minuses, of short competitions vs longer competitions and what is the best approach to big problems