Google has donated $1 million in funding and pro bono staff to help with CMU's COVIDcast.

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Carnegie Mellon University has received $1 million from Google in support of its COVIDcast, CMU’s project that tracks and forecasts localized COVID-19 activity nationwide.

Along with funding, Google is also providing a pro-bono team of 12 fellows including software engineers, program and product managers, a user experience researcher, and a UX designer to assist CMU Delphi Research Group over the next six months.

“Google’s support has been, and will continue to be, absolutely vital to our COVID-19 response,” said Ryan Tibshirani, who co-leads the Delphi group with Roni Rosenfeld. “We are indebted to Google for this support. This is the silver lining of this pandemic: You find out just how many people and organizations, such as Google, are truly generous, and want to help.”

CMU’s Delphi Research Group has been producing COVID-19 indicators, including self-reported symptoms, doctor visits for COVID-19 symptoms, and the time people spend away from their homes.

This research can be found in real-time on their COVIDcast Visualization Website.

The forecasts have been produced since June and CMU’s Delphi Research Group has been sharing them with the CDC since July.

“It’s been remarkable to see leaders across different industries, sectors and areas of expertise come together during this critical time in our world’s history,” said Brigitte Hoyer Gosselink, head of product impact for Google.org. “Google.org is proud to support the team at CMU with this grant and our Google.org fellows as they work together to better understand and address the short- and long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This year, the CDC asked CMU to extend its tracking and forecasting to include COVID-19, and Google has continued to provide search data, as well as distributing a survey question asking users if they are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19.