DSRC Colloquium - November 22nd, 2021 - DSRC Hackathons

Zoom Meeting Recording


DSRC Hackathons

Speaker: Prof. Mor Peleg (University of Haifa)

Title: Collaboration between Government and Research Community to Respond to COVID-19: Israel’s Case

Mor Peleg 1,*, Amnon Reichman 2, Sivan Shachar 2, Tamir Gadot 1, Meytal Avgil Tsadok 3, Maya Azaria 4,
Orr Dunkelman 1,2, Shiri Hassid 3, Daniella Partem 4, Maya Shmailov 5, Elad Yom-Tov 6 and Roy Cohen 3

Triggered by the COVID-19 crisis, Israel’s Ministry of Health (MoH) held a virtual datathon based on deidentified governmental data. Organized by a multidisciplinary committee that included The University of Haifa's Data Science Research Center and the Cyber Law and Policy Center, the Innovation Authority, and Microsoft Israel, Israel’s research community was invited to offer insights to help solve COVID-19 policy challenges. The Datathon was designed to develop operationalizable data-driven models to address COVID-19 health policy challenges. Specific relevant challenges were defined and diverse, reliable, up-to-date, deidentified governmental datasets were extracted and tested. Secure remote-access research environments were established. Registration was open to all citizens. Around a third of the applicants were accepted, and they were teamed to balance areas of expertise and represent all sectors of the community. Anonymous surveys for participants and mentors were distributed to assess usefulness and points for improvement and retention for future datathons. The Data-thon included 18 multidisciplinary teams (78 participants), mentored by 20 data scientists, 6 epidemiologists, 5 presentation mentors, and 12 judges. The insights developed by the three winning teams are currently considered by the MoH as potential data science methods relevant for national poli-cies. Based on participants’ feedback, the process for future data-driven regulatory responses for health crises was improved. Participants expressed increased trust in the MoH and readiness to work with the government on these or future projects. 


Speaker: Prof. Uri Hershberg (University of Haifa)

Title: The Artathon - Finding new Ways to accurately visualize complex biological data

The study of biology is at a turning point. Novel experimental methods make possible high-throughput imaging and molecular measurement at the single cell and single molecule level over thousands and millions of cells. Along with the great promise these technologies bring, they also call for new approaches to catalyze the assimilation of this overwhelming wealth of data. With new tools to measure biological dynamics and diversity new questions arise. Questions of process that take into account changes in individual molecules in the context of cell behavior and changes in individual cells in the context of systemic responses to physiological change. However, to even start to define these questions we need new ways to look at the data in its full richness. We need to visualize what we have measured. For the last 3 years in Philadelphia and Haifa (and now Porto) we have invited biology, computer science and design students to form interdisciplinary groups that together created new methods for the visualization of the changes in individually characterized Immune cell populations (http://artathon.stochasticity.org).
Our focus throughout has been to visualize B cell receptor (antibody) populations that can number in the millions for a single experiments. This is a special case of the more general question - How can we visualize millions of individuals? Which we divided into two sub questions: (i) How do we create an interactive visualization of the diversity of a population taking into account the different known characteristics of the individuals that build it? & (ii) How do we create an interactive visualization of the comparison of two populations?
For a more detailed description of our questions - http://clash.biomed.drexel.edu/artathon/).
This year, thanks to the pandemic, the Artathon was a hybrid events with small groups working together and in parallel on the east coast of the USA, in Porto in Portugal and here at the University of Haifa Namal Campus. The hybrid nature of the Artathon actually enhanced the collaboration and 4 interesting projects were built, two of which are still continuing one as a project in my lab and another as a proposed M.Sc. topic @INSEC TEC in Porto  (to see some of what wwas developed and conceptualized go here - https://github.com/Artathon2021 and to see the miro shared whiteboard we used to discuss things here - https://miro.com/app/board/o9J_lDLfORU=/.
In my lecture I will go over some of the insights we have gleaned from 3 Artathons (two supported by the DSRC) and our plans for future Artathons!


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