Langley resident Daniel Lindenberger, founder of Banging Rocks VR, is communications coordinator for an all-volunteer international effort to build a database for COVID-19 researchers (Ellison Lindenberger/special to Langley Advance Times)

Langley computer expert reports progress on worldwide initiative to assist COVID-19 research

International initiative aims to create ‘credible’ database of research material

A worldwide grassroots campaign to assist research into the COVID-19 virus is beginning to produce results, according to a Walnut Grove computer expert who is among several hundred people working to create digital tools to filter a torrent of material and enable scientists to screen out “garbage.”

A “vaccine and therapeutics” tool developed by the initiative is already in use at a “couple of centres” by medical researchers, Daniel Lindenberger told the Langley Advance Times.

Lindenberger said work continues to refine the tools to make them more effective and make sure needs of researchers are being met.

“Most of the people [in this project] are in for the long haul,” he commented.

One epidemiologist has told the developers that their work have helped reduced their search time through posted research documents from around a month to “about a day, “Lindenberger related.

Currently, about 52,000 “credible” documents can be accessed, about 12,000 of them complete research papers, he estimated.

“They’re all vetted,” Lindenberger commented.

“Right now, the floodgates are open in terms of being willing to share full material,” Lindenberger noted.

“Our goal is to have that as open as possible.”

READ MORE: Langley man part of ‘moon shot’ for COVID-19 research

In March, Lindenberger became communications coordinator for the world-wide all-volunteer effort launched by Los Angeles-based artificial intelligence (AI) expert Artur Kiulian that aims to use AI to filter data about the virus.

Kiulian was responding to a U.S. government call for a “machine readable” COVID-19 database, but the initiative quickly expanded beyond US borders.

A mission statement posted online said “there are massive amounts of COVID-19 data, but pulling critical knowledge from that data and turning it into actionable intelligence is a momentous task. It’s easy for vital data to get missed, or for isolated teams to waste time on the same work. Public organizations are urgently calling for help to support current research.”

CoronaWhy aims to “take the most pressing questions, collect all relevant data, find answers and get them to those who can put them to best effect.”

READ ALSO: B.C. scientist one of many fighting coronavirus pandemic on dozens of fronts

Lindenberger, founder of Banging Rocks VR, has, like most of the participants, been working from home on the ambitious goal he has likened to a “moon shot.”

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