News Release

Alberta Innovates announces results from COVID-19 Data Science Hackathon

Edmonton, Alberta - The COVID-19 Data Science Hackathon (hackathon), a partnership between CYBERA and Alberta Innovates, has wrapped up. 120 individuals and teams participated in the hackathon.  20 final submissions were made giving their best ideas on how to flatten the COVID-19 curve or promote economic recovery. Participants used data to create new insights and understandings of the health crisis, and how businesses are responding.

The online competition ended May 18, 2020. The intent of the hackathon was to examine the scale and spread of COVID-19, comparing data from different communities. Participants collected and curated worldwide open data, and then refined, transformed and linked that data to create visualizations, utilizing the Alberta Data Institute's data analytics platform: These visualizations provided an understanding of how our efforts are working to flatten the curve and provide leaders with a data-driven context and comparisons for economic recovery for Alberta and Canada.

Winners: Prize Category: Project: Prize Amount:

Alberta Innovates:
Best Approach Award
Examining 311 reports in Calgary and Edmonton relating to COVID-19 social distancing to see how events and communication has impacted citizen behavior, and to see how this differs in two Alberta cities with the same provincial messaging. $2,000
Hannah Thoreson Godofsky Elevate Consulting:
Economic Recovery Analysis Award
A visual analysis of retail and grocery supply economics.   $1,500
Visualization and Graphics Group Health City:
Best Flatten the Curve Analysis Award
Short-term, data driven prediction model for COVID-19 in Alberta.    $1,500
Youreka Data Science Alberta Innovates:
Post-Secondary Student Award
Development of a tool to better understand the impacts of age, poverty, income and population density on the spread of the virus. $500
Evan Saltman ThinkData Works: Best Individual Effort Award Using artificial intelligence to analyze Albertans' social media posts on COVID-19 to gather opinions on topics like the economy, public health measures like social distancing, COVID-19 symptoms, and more. 3D Printer


"We saw some really interesting projects and collaborations. Some projects looked at employing machine learning and artificial intelligence to predict COVID-19 growth based on different models in different jurisdictions. Other projects examined human behaviours and reactions to public messaging to flatten the COVID-19 curve. One team looked at social media posts, while another looked at 311 interactions. The breadth of the work was astounding. The judging process was exceedingly difficult due to all the high-calibre projects that were submitted."
- Mark Diner, Director, Open Data Institute, Alberta Innovates

"We were happy to partner with the Alberta Data Institute to coordinate the COVID-19 data science hackathon. The quality of the proposals from both individuals and teams was astounding, which made judging a very difficult task. We appreciate the time and effort that all candidates put in to making the hackathon such a success, and congratulate the winners!"
- Barb Carra, PhD, President & CEO of Cybera, Alberta's not-for-profit technology accelerator

"The COVID-19 crisis has presented people working with data with what is hopefully a once-in-a-lifetime chance to understand the impact of pandemics on the economy. Working with the Alberta Data Institute was a great opportunity to do this in a way that upholds our societies' shared values of transparency, openness, and innovation."
- Hannah Thoreson Godofsky, winner of the Elevate Consulting: Economic Recovery Analysis Award


Alberta Innovates and Cybera have partnered with agencies including Elevate Consulting, Health City, and ThinkDataWorks, to provide prizes for the best ideas.

The Alberta Data Institute acknowledges the judges who committed time and effort to select the winning projects.
Nav Dhunay, ATB Financial
Chris Carvalho, Health City
Jae Cooper, Elevate Consulting
Ulli Wolfaardt, Alberta Innovates

Cybera is Alberta's not-for-profit organization responsible for driving economic growth through use of digital technology. Our core role is to oversee the development and operations of Alberta's cyberinfrastructure - the advanced system of networks and computers that keep government, educators, not-for-profits, and entrepreneurs at the forefront of technological change. We work with our members to ensure a connected future for all Albertans.

Alberta Innovates invests in research, innovation and entrepreneurship to drive provincial economic growth and diversity. We ignite the power of innovation through our work with researchers, industry and entrepreneurs to move Alberta to a lower-carbon future, enhance the responsible use of land and water, and contribute to the improved health and well-being of Albertans.

Alberta Innovates provides technical expertise, entrepreneurial advice and support, opportunities for partnerships, and funding to advance the best ideas. We support a broad range of research and innovation activity - from discovery to use. Collaboration is at the heart of what we do - bringing together bright minds and great ideas.

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