Just over the transom: MIT is hosting two hackathons THIS WEEKEND to tackle specific problems related to the COVID-19 epidemic. They’re calling this Beat the Pandemic, and say that

The Challenge is a 48-hour sprint beginning on Friday afternoon (4/3) and ending on Sunday afternoon (4/5). Since the goal is to rapidly bring meaningful solutions to life, participants should expect to commit Friday evening, most of Saturday, and Sunday morning/early afternoon to the Challenge. Participants do not need to be available 24/7 for the duration of the event but should communicate their availability to team members.

Of course it’s virtual, with teams using online collaboration tools.

The topics are

  • Protecting Vulnerable Populations: Lots of tracks, including expanding and improving access to COVID-19 education and resources, who to test and when, at-home patient triaging (now THAT is a frightening prospect in a whole lot of scary things around us now), COVID-19 treatment and management, the impact of social distancing and quarantines …
  • Helping Health Systems: Tracks here include identifying the COVID-19 immune, new ways to deliver care in a COVID-19 world, hospital asset coordination, and distribution, space conversion, utility, and projections — maybe some of my AEC buddies can get in on some of the latter topics?

MIT’s FAQ says that anyone over 13 can participate: “all experience levels, professional and academic backgrounds, and skill sets are welcome; what matters most is your commitment to making an impact and your willingness to collaborate” and you DON’T have to be affiliated with MIT in any way to join in. There are prizes, the potential to commercialize winning solutions, etc. Check out the FAQ for details.

One last thing: they also need mentors. Not sure what that means; if you’re interested, ask them!

The agenda kicks off TONIGHT at 6PM ET, with team formation. Go here to apply.

And now, your moment of zen. I live outside Boston, and not much is blooming yet. But I’m sure cherry blossoms are, somewhere. Stay home if at all possible and wash your hands!