The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) said this week they launched the Text Retrieval Conference (TREC)-COVID program to develop artificial intelligence (AI) tools to analyze a new dataset of machine readable COVID-19 scholarly literature.

NIST plans to work with the Allen Institute of AI, the National Library of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston for initial work on the program.

“AI experts worldwide are responding to the White House’s call to action, developing approaches that help scientists gain insights from thousands of articles of COVID-19 scholarly literature,” Michael Kratsios, U.S. Chief Technology Officer said. “The TREC-COVID program expands upon these efforts by creating powerful and accurate search engines that extract knowledge from this literature, tailored to the needs of the health-care and medical research communities.”

The team working on the program will apply TREC to the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset, which has more than 44,000 research articles related to COVID-19 and the coronavirus family of viruses. It will create datasets and use independent assessment process to assist search engine developers in evaluating and optimizing their systems.

“We are pleased to apply this infrastructure to the challenge of working with massive amounts of data to help researchers better understand and ultimately to combat this deadly novel coronavirus and related threats,” Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Walter G. Copan said.


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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.