POSTECH Launches Self-Contact Tracing Map for COVID-19
Professor Juhong Park of CiTE fuses voluntary participation and IT technology for a new model of solution.
A team led by Professor Juhong Park of the Department of Creative IT Engineering will operate “COVID: Share to Survive,” a self-contact tracing map project that involves anonymous participation from suspected and confirmed patients of COVID-19.
This worldwide project (www.sharetosurvive.org) was initiated to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by sharing the movements of confirmed patients. In the event of suspected symptoms or after being tested for COVID-19, people can voluntarily disclose their symptoms and their path of travel on the map, anonymously.
The project is translated and released in nine languages, including Korean, English, Chinese, Japanese, and Italian. The location information is designed to be displayed in real time and disappears when the virus reaches its half-life (7 days).
Suspected or confirmed patients can simply enter their places of visit on the project’s website, and the public can easily check where a person with certain symptoms visited.
In other countries, only the number of confirmed cases is published and the patient’s travel log is not revealed like in Korea, making it hard to identify the route of contagion and those who crossed paths with the confirmed are in the dark.
In Korea, the confirmed patients’ travel log is thoroughly revealed. But their diagnosis or places visited are not immediately verified, as it is made public only after they test positive for the virus. Therefore, there may be a small discrepancy in real-time route of infection. Prof. Park’s research team planned this project in response to this glitch.
Due to the possibility of false information or malicious use due to anonymity, the team uses artificial intelligence to identify unusual user patterns. But even with a small number of unfiltered malicious data, the team considers a priority to block contact with sources of infection.
“All data except officially confirmed patients’ information disappears after a week and even if false or malicious information is shared, it will be of little significance as the number of genuine participants increases,” Prof. Park explained. He added, “The project focuses more on identifying the path of those who show early symptoms and pinpointing the source of infection in real time.”
He also called for active participation from suspected and confirmed patients stating, “Though small, we have already seen people voluntarily enter their path of travel from Korea, the U.S., and the Netherlands, which looks promising.” He further commented, “We expect this project – based on the good will of the participants, and respect and trust of each other – will bring about a sense of one human community that everyone should live in harmony.
With this data, the team will research whether anonymously shared information can actually lead to infection prevention and develop artificial intelligence technology that can recognize data errors.