The Eurecat technology centre has today hosted the presentation of the first project using big data analysis and artificial intelligence to prevent epidemics by helping to predict, identify and mitigate their spread. Technical coordination will be provided by the Center for Innovation in Data tech and Artificial Intelligence (CIDAI). The project is to use advanced digital technology to deliver new mathematical monitoring and prediction models for early detection of future outbreaks. This will provide the information needed to put in place more effective containment and mitigation measures.

This ambitious public-private initiative is the outcome of the joint action of the Catalan Government through the Ministry of Digital Policies and Public Administration and the Ministry of Health; medical and health institutions (Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital and the Fight against AIDS Foundation); leading technology innovation and research centres and research groups (CIDAI, Eurecat, the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Rovira i Virgili University and the University of Girona) and Mobile World Capital Barcelona. The project is also supported by the GSMA AI for Impact initiative.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the need for early detection of epidemic outbreaks to improve containment and mitigation processes. The epidemiological observatory will examine the spread of epidemics by analysing data from mobile phone networks, population registers, epidemiological data and environmental and meteorological data to provide enhanced mathematical models for designing the best strategies to forecast and mitigate the spread of present and future epidemics.