March 31, 2020

COVID-19 Hackathon April 10-May 18

Win prizes, help flatten the curve and assist in economic recovery using COVID-19 datasets

Knowledge is power! COVID-19 is a global pandemic, and “flattening the curve” is a critical approach for slowing the spread of the disease so as to not overwhelm healthcare systems. We can use open data to create analyses and visuals to help “flatten the curve”, as well as map the economic recovery from COVID-19.

Together with our partners Cybera and the Pacific Institute for Mathematical Sciences, we invite you to participate in a virtual open data science hackathon from April 10 to May 18 to building data-driven perspectives derived from COVID-19 datasets. 



The goal of the hackathon will be to collect and curate worldwide open data and to refine, transform, and link that data to provide a visualization regarding the impact of COVID-19.

We will look at two themes:

  1. overall understanding of the efforts to flatten the curve
  2. economic recovery especially for Alberta and Canada

This is about providing a better understanding of the story, through data.

Next Steps

Step 1: Register your interest in participating through Eventbrite

Step 2: Register and promote your ideas and invite your team members to join through Sparkboard

Step 3: Begin work curating and transforming datasets using the Alberta Data Institute’s data refinement platform. Here you will be able to connect with Jupyter Notebooks and other tools you wish to use.

Other Resources:

Stormboard is a free whiteboard and brainstorming tool available.

Slack is a free messaging tool available for collaboration.

Promote your ideas, get feedback, and invite new team members to join your project on the global Hacking Health social board.


  • Alberta Innovates “Best Approach Award$2,000 – Eligible for participants or teams whose members are over 18 as of May 15, 2020
  • Elevate Consulting “Economic Recovery Analysis” Award $1,500 – Eligible for participants or teams whose members are over 18 as of May 15, 2020
  • Edmonton Health City “Best Flatten the Curve Analysis” Award $1500 – Eligible for participants or teams whose members are over 18 as of May 15, 2020
  • Alberta Innovates “Post-Secondary Student” Award $500 – Eligible for participant, or team members all who attends a post-secondary institution, enrolled as a student, over 18 as of May 15, 2020
  • Cybera-Callysto “Under 18 Award” – a micro:bit Go Kit for each team member – Eligible for participants under 18 years old as of May 15, 2020
  • ThinkData Works – “Best Individual Effort Award”3D Printer – Eligible for any individual participant, of any age as of May 15, 2020

Judging Criteria

  1. Quality of idea (includes creativity and originality) Weighting: 30%
  2. Implementation of idea (includes how well the idea was executed by the developer) Weighting: 30%
  3. Visual impact (includes ability to communicate and user experience, if applicable). Weighting: 40%

Stage 1: Collect and Curate – The goal is to find, curate and to ingest primary open datasets, then do the same for related secondary datasets that will be helpful in accomplishing the mission. Secondary datasets could be, for example, geospatial, demographic, or even economic etc.

Stage 2: Refine, clean up and link data sets. The goal is to create “master datasets” (or linked datasets) that add dimension and could be used to generate a better understanding of the impact and spread, and possible recovery.

Stage 3: The goal is to use open source tools to create charts, infographics, visuals, etc. that help others “see” the data in action.


What is a Data Science Hackathon?
A data science hackathon is also know as a “datathon”. It is an online competition where participants – typically data scientists – either in teams or as individuals, use data to gain new insights and understanding from datasets.

What is the focus of the Alberta Innovates Covid-19 data science hackathon?
The COVID-19 pandemic is generating a phenomenal amount of data. By accessing COVID-19 open datasets, data scientists can examine the scale and spread of COVID-19, comparing data from different jurisdictions and create visual models to help understand the spread of the virus, flatten the curve and speed up economic recovery.

Who can participate in the Data Science Hackathon?
The hackathon is targeted at individuals or teams who have training in data science, and/or economists.


Stormboard: A virtual space for teams to collaborate.

Hacking Health: A virtual space to promote projects and team building.

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