With the actual pandemic of COVID-19, it is hardly for anyone to keep her/himself out of the loop. The machine learning community is now making its effort to help our medical and biological fellow beat the virus. Some aspects to which our community can contribute include outbreak prediction, epidemiological modelling, drug discovery, viral genome sequencing, health care management, etc. These are the topics covered by the workshop on COVID-19 hosted by the ELLIS Society. The workshop was made virtual of course, and it was also a first-time experience for me and for many of my fellows in the domain. Fairly speaking the logistic of the whole workshop worked quite smoothly with only a few connection issues.
My take on this online workshop is that, we machine learners, have of course many to do with this world-wide outbreak. But we should be very carefull on to what extent our expertise can be truely helpful. Non-responsible actions could be eventually harmful. A better way is probably to listen to the need of people on the front line.
I myself may not have a lot of time to participate directly to these on-going projects. I would like, however, to extend my highest respect to my collegues those who suspended their working papers and to devote to this human-wide war. But I still have something to do. As the executive leader of out local Chinese student union, I am using my data analytic skills to help delivering various health care supplies to our students in a more efficient way. This time is hard for every one, but it is encouraging to see the solidarity raised by the machine learning community by their scientific knowing and, more importantly, humanity. Stay strong and everything will be better.