BEIJING, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Chinese technology companies are supporting the country's fight against the novel coronavirus outbreak, with the help of cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI).
The Damo Academy, the scientific research arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba, has helped the provincial center for disease control and prevention (CDC) of Zhejiang in eastern China develop an automated genome-wide detection and analysis platform.
With AI diagnosis technology, the platform can shorten the gene analysis time for a suspect case from several hours to half an hour.
Based on the computing power of Aliyun, Alibaba's cloud computing branch, the platform will also cover as many confirmed cases as possible in the near future, which will contribute to the vaccine and drug research and development, said Sun Yi from the provincial CDC.
After learning abundant coronavirus-related knowledge prepared by medical professionals, a computer system developed by the Damo Academy is helping answer people's questions about the epidemic via an app that offers government services of Zhejiang.
As more Chinese provinces and cities have lengthened the Spring Festival holiday and postponed the resumption of business to curb the human-to-human transmission of the virus, working at home has become a new trend for companies and institutions across the country.
Alibaba has announced that the full line of services of a home office system, developed by its mobile office tool DingTalk, will be offered free to 10 million enterprises. Nearly 200 million people working from home used DingTalk on Monday, the first day back to work after the Chinese government prolonged the Spring Festival holiday until Feb. 2.
Tencent, another Chinese tech giant, provided free service for real-time audio and video communication to allow 300 people to attend an online conference at one time.
It has also helped to build online classrooms and smart campuses for students in Wuhan, the center of the novel coronavirus outbreak, with free cloud resources.
Peng Yifan, a teacher from a Wuhan middle school, is now able to give lectures to his students through a live broadcast software developed by Tencent.
The students could stay at home while watching the live broadcast, Peng said.
Chinese Internet giant Baidu developed an online platform in only six days for the Beijing branch of the Chinese Medical Association to provide citizens with consulting services about the new virus.
The platform, with a connection of over 1,000 doctors from the respiratory and infection departments of Beijing's hospitals, adopts 5G, AI, video communication and telemedicine technologies, enabling the doctors to answer questions through live videos and online messages.
The doctors are arranged in a smart schedule so that they can provide consulting services 24 hours a day. Patients can make a registration appointment and pay medical expenses online through the platform.
AI fever screening systems have been deployed in some busy pedestrian areas in Beijing to provide non-contact and efficient temperature inspection for novel coronavirus control during the upcoming post-holiday travel peak.
AI company Megvii, the system developer, said its engineers have optimized the system for better recognition of people wearing masks and hats with a margin of error within 0.3 degrees Celsius. The system also supports non-contact remote temperature screening of more than 3 meters.
Once a passenger is suspected of having a fever, the system will automatically alert staff members. Person re-identification (ReID), a technology to identify and track a person of interest from group images, enables staff members to quickly locate the passenger for further tests.
Megvii researchers said the system can send fever alerts for up to 15 people per second, and one system can cover 16 lanes, basically covering one subway entrance. Meanwhile, only one staff member is needed to work onsite, reducing the risk of infection among frontline staff.