Announcing The COVID-19 Symptom Data Challenge Winners

In partnership with Facebook Data for Good, the Delphi Group at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), the Joint Program on Survey Methodology at the University of Maryland (UMD), the Duke Margolis Center for Health Policy, and Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies

SAN ANSELMO, Calif.--()--Catalyst @ Health 2.0, the industry leader in digital health strategic partnering, announced today DeepOutbreak as the winner and K&A as the runner up of The COVID-19 Symptom Data Challenge.

The COVID-19 Symptom Data Challenge looked for novel analytic approaches that use COVID-19 Symptom Survey data to enable earlier detection and improved situational awareness of the outbreak. Challenge participants leveraged aggregated data from the COVID-19 Symptom Surveys conducted by Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland, in partnership with Facebook, the largest and most detailed surveys ever conducted during a public health emergency, with over 25M responses recorded to date, across 200+ countries and territories and 55+ languages.

Phase I saw applications from 115 people (across every continent except Antarctica!) and 50 organizations, including 35 academic institutions. Judges evaluated the entries based on Validity, Scientific Rigor, Impact, and User Experience before awarding five semi-finalists - CoronaSurveys, DeepOutbreak, K&A, Pathcheck, and the University of Washington Electrical and Computer Engineering/Computer Science and Engineering - $5,000 each and the opportunity to advance to Phase II, where these teams developed a prototype (simulation or visualization) using their analytic approach.

DeepOutbreak, a team with members from Georgia Tech, the University of Iowa, and Virginia Tech, who created a framework for forecasting the domestic activity and trends in transmission of COVID-19 and symptomatically-similar illnesses, was declared the winner of the Challenge. Second place was awarded to K&A, a Russia-based team working with the World Bank and the Higher School of Economics, whose approach leveraged both the U.S. and global Symptom Survey datasets to explore the effectiveness of behavioral interventions on the spread of COVID-19 over time. As the winner of the Challenge, DeepOutbreak is awarded $50,000 and will have their analytic design featured on the Facebook Data for Good website and partner forums, including blogs and community websites. K&A receives $25,000 as the runner up.

The winners and remaining three finalists will present their prototypes at the COVID-19 Symptom Data Challenge Showcase on Wednesday, December 16th, from 4-5:30pm ET, during a program that includes distinguished speakers such as Dr. Tom Frieden, President & CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, & former Director of the CDC; Dr. Mark McClellan, Director of the Duke Margolis Center for Health Policy; Dr. Farzad Mostashari, CEO of Aledade & former National Coordinator for Health IT at the Department of Health and Human Services; and Kang-Xing Jin, Facebook's Head of Health. Chrissy Farr, Principal and Health-Tech Lead at OMERS Ventures and former technology and health reporter for, will serve as emcee.

Learn more about the COVID-19 Symptom Data Challenge here:

Register for the COVID-19 Symptom Data Challenge Showcase on Wednesday, December 16th, from 4-5:30pm ET here:

Background on the COVID-19 Symptom Surveys

As governments, academics and international organizations began to mount an unprecedented worldwide response to COVID-19 in early 2020, the world lacked a standardized, global, way to measure COVID-19 illness and track inflections in the outbreak that would help guide decision-making. The COVID-19 Symptom Surveys were launched by Facebook Data for Good, University of Maryland’s Joint Program in Survey Methodology, and Carnegie Mellon University’s Delphi group in the spring of 2020 to help efforts to monitor and forecast COVID-19.

“Data insights are a key component to supporting an informed public health response,” said KX Jin, head of health at Facebook. “In this challenge, we’re excited to encourage innovative approaches to aid public health efforts, and hope data from the Symptom Surveys may be particularly useful in settings where an absence of available data has made monitoring and forecasting efforts challenging.”

“We’re excited to see what important insights and results the participants will derive from this data,” said Alex Reinhart, who leads surveys for the Delphi group at Carnegie Mellon University. “We believe that these surveys, in combination with other public data, can provide a more complete picture of the pandemic’s scale and impacts, and welcome new ideas for how to use the data to improve decision-making and forecasting.” Frauke Kreuter, Professor at the University of Maryland and co-director of the newly founded Social Data Science center, said, “Learning from the development over time and across countries is key to globally tackling the pandemic--we are excited to engage a larger community in the analysis of the data.”

For more information about the surveys and partnerships, please visit the Facebook Data for Good website.

About Catalyst @ Health 2.0

Catalyst @ Health 2.0 ("Catalyst") is the industry leader in digital health strategic partnering, hosting competitive innovation "challenge" events, as well as developing and implementing programs for piloting and commercializing novel health care technologies. Since 2010, our team has hosted 90+ innovation challenges with $9mm in awards, coordinated over 175 pilot programs to test new tech, and created connections for more than 1,500 firms via matchmaking events. Our global network is a community of health IT entrepreneurs, provider and payer organizations, pharmaceutical companies, philanthropic foundations, investors, software developers, physicians, patients, academics and government representatives. Together we tackle complex health care issues and power the health innovation ecosystem. To stay up to date on the challenges, and other exciting programs, sign up for the Catalyst newsletter here.


Matthew Holt

Release Summary

Catalyst @ Health 2.0 announced DeepOutbreak as the winner and KA as the runner up of The COVID-19 Symptom Data Challenge.


Matthew Holt