Hacking medicine

At the International Society of Infectious Disease conference in Buenos Aires I attended an Infectious Disease Hackathon, developed by Hacking Medicine at MIT. It was really interesting.

The first thing I learnt was that a hackathon isn’t a codeathon – eg. Putting an app together is not necessarily a solution. Identifying the problem is the first step, and really trying to identify the problem! Otherwise the hacked solution will not solve the problem.

The folks at MIT presented a nice flow diagram of a hackathon that I think will be really useful to take on. It is sometimes also known as a Design Thinking Process, and focusses on identifying solutions to problems and iterating the process. I guess it’s really just a practical way of learning…

My take home from the hackathon was that investigating and engaging with past and present students on the modelling course will a great way forward. It’ll be important to understand what the learning concepts are for mathematical modelling of infectious diseases, and identify any if there are better ways to teach effectively.

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