Scale AI Funds 8 Projects to Combat the Pandemic


Scale AI, Canada’s Montreal-based AI-for-supply-chains supercluster, has announced new funding for a number of initiatives in an effort to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. The hope is that these projects can help Canada meet this challenge by leveraging technology and AI. Over 120 projects were submitted. These eight have been approved, representing a combined investment of $3.4 M. Some local organizations who have been selected include MILA, AlyaCare, The Montreal Heart Institute, The Montreal Port Authority and Dialogue Technologies.

Julien Billot, general manager of Scale AI, said in a statement “To face the crisis, we have implemented an exceptional program aimed at developing and financing relevant and effective projects very quickly. With projects that include analysis tools for research and clinical trials, coordination of patient services, supply management for drugs, medical equipment and food and essentials, AI has once again demonstrated its ability to support all sectors in improving their efficiency.”

Optimization of the distribution of diagnostic tests for COVID-19

Company: Roche Diagnostics,
division of Hoffmann-La Roche Limited

Scale AI investment: $500K
Total investment: $600K

 

With the unprecedented demand for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and despite the ongoing ramp up in production, there is currently still a limited supply of these tests. This AI solution will be powered by a robust forecasting model and an allocation optimization engine that takes into account constraints in global supply, as well as national testing capacity and evolving circumstances.

François Drolet, Director, Public Affairs: “Our capacity to face the COVID-19 pandemic rests on the agility and the collaboration between all actors. AI gives us new forecasting and rapid response capabilities that benefit all public health stakeholders, healthcare professionals and—ultimately—patients.”

Intelligent digital assistance system

Companies: Careteam Technologies & FleetOps 

Scale AI investment: $500K
Total investment: $500K

 

The support network for vulnerable people, including professional home services and caregiver interventions, is completely disrupted by the current crisis. This project aims to equip community organizations and volunteers to document needs and manage interventions in a coordinated manner, on a digital platform that brings together local stakeholders.

Dr. Alexandra T. Greenhill, CEO and Chief Medical Officer of Careteam Technologies: “Digital and artificial intelligence have multiple applications and the community sector is facing a major technological leap. Our approach is based on collaboration between all stakeholders and sharing of data in order to offer better support to people who need it.”

Chris Atkinson, founder CEO of FleetOp: “Applying our innovation to rapidly scale a digital solution to help those who are caught in the crisis represents an exciting challenge for our team of engineers.”

Rapid distribution capacity of essential cargo

Company: The Montreal Port Authority and CargoM 

Scale AI investment: $500K
Total investment: $500K

 

Distribution networks are under stress, with the need to quickly deliver basic necessities in the health and food sectors, while other sectors are operating at a slower pace. This AI-based solution enables the optimization of identification and prioritization of critical cargo arriving by container at the Port of Montreal to ensure the rapid distribution of essential goods, such as medical equipment and food products, in the current COVID-19 context.

Daniel Dagenais, Vice-President Operations at the Montreal Port Authority: “With a data management and processing system already well established, we are able to rapidly deploy additional solutions that can optimize the process of unloading and reduce container dwell times to less than 12 hours for critical cargo, in order to ensure continuity of care and services offered to the population, in the context of COVID-19.”

Mathieu Charbonneau, Executive Director of CargoM: “This innovative project highlights both the collaboration between supply chain actors and Montreal’s strengths in artificial intelligence, to contribute to our collective effort in the face of COVID-19 with concrete and effective solutions.”

Response to the COVID-19 crisis for home care

Company: AlayaCare 

Partners: Les Services Bien Chez SoiPolytechnique Montréal

Scale AI investment: $297.5K
Total investment: $312.5K

 

While home care is turned upside down by the COVID-19 crisis, this solution aims to create a new tool for monitoring the health of both patients and workers. This helps protect their health, limit the risk of spreading the virus and ensure continuity of care and services, whether in person or through a new offer of virtual consultations.

Naomi Goldapple, Head of AlayaLabs at AlayaCare: “The collective fight against COVID-19 highlights the exceptional work of the care teams deployed for patients. We are proud to contribute in our own way, with AI solutions that ensure continuity of home care in a safe manner.”

Access to resources on COVID-19 through a chatbot

Company: Dialogue Technologies

Partners: MilaNu EchoSamasourceGoogleJohns Hopkins University and Dataperformers

Scale AI investment: $500K
Total investment: $500K

 

While the public has many questions about COVID-19, 811 phone lines and telemedicine interventions are multiplying, but nursing teams are not able to meet demand. Dialogue is developing a project to improve the service of the Chloé automated public chatbot for COVID-19. The system aims to facilitate quick access to relevant information for citizens and allow healthcare professionals to focus on tasks that require their expertise, while protecting the public and avoiding misinformation.

Alexis Smirnov, co-founder and chief technology officer at Dialogue: “Since the arrival of COVID-19, our team has worked tirelessly to create tools to help Canadians weather this crisis. Working with leaders in AI and conversational systems, with the support of Scale AI, will allow us to continue to improve the patient experience, while reducing pressure on the public healthcare system.”

Strengthening deep learning in the search for effective antiviral molecules against COVID-19

Organization: Mila

Scale AI investment: $125K
Total investment: $250K

 

To accelerate the interpretation of research data for effective antiviral molecules in the fight against COVID-19, this project takes advantage of a new deep learning algorithm to exploit the capabilities of artificial intelligence in fundamental research and to transfer this knowledge into applied research.

Yoshua Bengio, Scientific Director of Mila: “The entire vocation of Mila is found in this project, at the junction between disciplines and types of research, at the service of the common good. Let us remember this spirit of collaboration when, hopefully, we return to a more normal life. This is also a spirit of science, where the emphasis is on the joy of understanding, sharing and discovering solutions together.”

Digital framework for clinical trials for accelerated evaluation of a new COVID-19 treatment based on colchicine 

Organization: Montreal Heart Institute

Scale AI investment: $100K
Total investment: $300K

 

This project will develop an intelligent infrastructure to oversee clinical trials by optimizing the management of informed patient consent, as well as the capture, filtering and analysis of data from a treatment evaluation study based on colchicine to reduce mortality from COVID-19.

Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, Director of the Research Centre at the Montreal Heart Institute: “While time is a key factor in the search for treatments, artificial intelligence allows us to reduce elements that slow down the completion of clinical studies. This digital framework, authorized by Health Canada and the FDA, allows us to facilitate the work of doctors and researchers in the deployment of a clinical study whose results will be decisive in the treatment of COVID-19.”

CDL recovery program

Organization: Creative Destruction Lab

Scale AI investment: $500K
Total investment: $500K

 

Creative Destruction Lab is adapting its objectives-based mentorship program to enable start-ups to face the challenges posed by COVID-19 in terms of public health and economic recovery. The selected projects will benefit from the support and expertise of leading entrepreneurs, economists, scientists, inventors, business leaders and investors.

Sonia Sennik, Executive Director of the Creative Destruction Lab: “CDL’s mission is to transform science projects into massively scalable products and services that benefit humankind. We are focusing our structured mentorship process on supporting organizations facing an unprecedented situation.”

 

The projects being supported are integrated into the various axes of intervention of Scale AI, with projects developed by industry and others involving research, as well as an initiative relating to the acceleration of start‑ups.

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