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Computer Science and Covid-19

This page will be updated regularly to include any Covid-19 related research or writings involving members of the department.

Zoom-bombing the Future of Education

In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, schools and universities across the globe have moved to online education as a substitute rather than a complement for campus-based instruction. This work is by Bill Dutton (who is a member of the GCSCC), and Arnau Erola, a Research Fellow in this department, in collaboration with Louise Axon and Patricia Esteve-Gonzalez who are researchers here, and Marcel Stolz and Mary Bispham who are DPhil students.

FBI follows Oxford academic's guide to beat the Zoom-bombers

A lively international debate, as well as interest from the Feds in the USA has followed a recent blog about the problems and issues surround the conferencing platform, Zoom. The blog, 'Zoom-bombing the Future of Education' was written by Bill Dutton's (member of the GCSCC) with colleague Arnau Erola, a Research Fellow in this department, based on their discussions with Louise Axon, Patricia Esteve-Gonzalez, Marcel Stolz, and Mary Bispham. The original blog can be read using the following link.

Modeling the Spread of COVID-19

All of us, around the world, are sequestered at home right now due to the predictions of a mathematical model, developed by a group at Imperial College London. The model predicts disaster, with deaths in the millions, unless population densities are greatly reduced by social distancing. This work is by Alan Garfinkel, who is currently the Newton Abraham Visiting Professor and a member of the Computational Cardiovascular Science Group, part of the British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence at Oxford.

COVID-19: Misinformation and its implications

This article is by Max Van Kleek, who is an Associate Professor in the Human Centred Computing research theme in this department. It contains viewpoints of the author and is not intended as a research document.

How to keep children safe and connected during home schooling

In response to the global COVID-19 outbreaks, schools in the UK have been closed since 23 March. For most parents, aside from juggling between the daunting prospect of home-schooling and their work, they are also overwhelmed by their children's need to stay connected with friends. This work is by Dr Jun Zhao, a Senior Researcher in this department, who has extensive experience of working with families and children in relation to children's online privacy protection.

OpenSky COVID-19 Flight Dataset

This blog releases a public version of flight metadata collected over the first three months in 2020. It was written by Martin Strohmeier, a research officer at the Department of Computer Science, and posted on the OpenSky Network, a non-profit association aimed at improving the security, reliability, and efficiency of air space usage by providing open access real-world air traffic control data to the public. The data is currently used by academic researchers around the world as well as governments and Central Banks. Some of the main purposes include modelling the spread of the virus via global airways or gauging economic activity in affected countries. The data will be updated monthly at

Technological responses to COVID-19: the need for responsible innovation

Technological tools can offer significant help to combat the spread of COVID-19. However there are risks involved too. In this article Jun Zhao, Carolyn ten Holter, Helena Webb, Marina Jirotka and Philip Inglesant from the Human Centred Computing group highlight the need for a responsible innovation approach that respects the long term needs of citizens.

Digitalization of COVID-19 Pandemic Management and Cyber Risk from Connected Systems

What makes cyber risks arising from connected systems challenging during the management of a pandemic? If we assume that a variety of cyber-physical systems are already operational — collecting, analysing, and acting on data autonomously — what risks might arise in their application to pandemic management? This article was written by Petar Radanliev (Department of Engineering), David De Roure (Department of Engineering) and Max Van Kleek, an Associate Professor in the Human Centred Computing research theme in the Department of Computer Science and a member of DP3T, an international consortium of experts that aims to minimise privacy and security risks for individuals to guarantee the highest level of data protection.

COVID-19: What is digital contact tracing, how does it work, and will it succeed?

This article discusses digital contact tracing, what it is, how it works, and the key challenges that need to be overcome. It was written by Max Van Kleek, an Associate Professor in the Human Centred Computing research theme in the Department of Computer Science who has been involved in the development of DP3T, an international consortium of experts that aims to minimise privacy and security risks for individuals to guarantee the highest level of data protection.

The effectiveness and perceived burden of nonpharmaceutical interventions against COVID-19 transmission: a modelling study with 41 countries

This paper is about nonpharmacetical interventions against COVID-19 and how we can move beyond estimating aggregate effects to understand individual interventions. The lead authors are Jan Markus Brauner, an AIMS CDT student at the Department of Computer Science, and Sören Mindermann, a DPhil student in the department. Both are supervised by the department's Associate Professor Yarin Gal. They are all members of the Oxford Applied and Theoretical Machine Learning (OATML) group. *This has not yet been peer-reviewed*

Increasing the effectiveness of limited testing resources in developing countries

Testing resources for COVID-19 are severely constrained, especially in low to medium income countries. In light of this reality, testing and containment policies that maximise the benefit from each available test are needed. Edwin Lock, Francisco Marmolejo-Cossio and Ninad Rajgopal from the Department of Computer Science have been involved in an interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers at the University of Oxford and in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, on how to optimise the use of limited COVID-19 testing budgets. The team was awarded a 2020 ACM Global Challenges in Economics and Computation grant to support the practical implementation of resource-efficient testing procedures in San Luis Potosí. A short informational video about the research is available here.