Covid Information Commons: Lightning Talks (May 2021)


Watch the full webinar here.

On Wednesday, May 19 2021, five researchers studying wide-ranging aspects of the current pandemic came together as a part of the ongoing COVID-19 Research Webinar series organized through the COVID Information Commons, to share their research and answer questions from our community. This month’s event featured speakers Dr. Alka Sapat of Florida Atlantic University, Dr. Ruth Serra-Moreno of University of Rochester, Dr. David Konisky, Indiana University, Dr. Austin Mast, Florida State University, and Dr. Peter Pirolli, Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, Inc. Their research includes work such as understanding the subjective resilience of vulnerable individuals in hurricane prone counties in Florida, employing higher fidelity models of human behavior to improve computational epidemiology, explaining the relationship between the SARS-CoV-2 and autophagy machinery to understand the ease in human to human transmissions that betacoronaviruses infecting bats (such as MERS and SARS) have demonstrated in the past century, and much more. Videos of each of their talks highlighting insights gained from their NSF-funded research are available on our YouTube channel.

The lightning presentations were followed by an announcement of the “Inaugural COVID Information Commons Undergraduate Student Paper Challenge” winners by Florence Hudson, the Executive Director of the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub and John MacMullen, the Executive Director of the Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub. This challenge was an opportunity for all students taking undergraduate classes to write a research paper sharing their insights on a topic related to COVID-19 of their choice. 

In third place is Aditya Kulkarni, a high school student taking classes at the University of Minnesota. His paper is entitled “Human Mobility Patterns Linked to COVID-19 Prone Locations.” Next at second, Samson Qian is a student at the University of California, San Diego, and his work is titled “Generating Explanations for Chest Medical Scan Pneumonia Predictions.” Finally, the winner of the paper challenge, in first place is Jane Pan, a student at Columbia University with her paper titled “Contradiction Detection of COVID-19 Randomized Controlled Trials via Bert Language Models. Congratulations to all of them and to everyone else that participated in this challenge. Each of the three winners are invited to present their work at a future CIC webinar, and have their papers published on the CIC website and Columbia Academic Commons.

A recording of the event is available at the Northeast Big Data Hub’s YouTube channel as well as at covidinfocommons.net. The COVID Information Commons is an NSF-funded project brought to you by the Big Data Innovation Hubs, led by the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub at Columbia University.

Our next COVID-19 Research Webinar, featuring research on the interdependent social vulnerability of COVID -19, a study of policy-maker behaviour in the context of COVID-19 research, and more, will take place on Wednesday, June 9, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM ET. Register for the June webinar, sign up for the CIC mailing list, and join the CIC Slack channel for updates on future events and opportunities to engage with the COVID Information Commons community.