by Lynsey Chutel
Quartz Africa, 19 September 2016
In a newly built innovation hub on Johannesburg’s trendiest block, 20 young scientists from eight different countries stare intently at their computers in a hackathon unlike any other. The code they’re trying to crack isn’t the password of a high-ranking official or executive’s email. Their cause is much more noble: they’re trying to figure out how to beat the deadly, drug-resistant malaria that has become a global scourge. It’s just one of the ways data – from both inside and outside the body – and IBM’s cognitive computing system Watson, are being leveraged to cure illnesses and lift the burden of disease in Africa. At a recent five-day hackathon, medical researchers from around the world joined forces to work through data mapping solutions to malaria. Other more long term research projects are also using data to treat diseases like cancer.