Prize4Life taps into global big data expertise to fight Lou Gehrig’s disease

–Globe File Photo

Last week, I wrote about how the potential of big data was much bigger than predicting elections, highlighting big data life science start-ups like Patients Like Me.

Today, non-profit Prize4Life provided some more great examples when they announced the winners of the ALS Prediction Prize.

Each of the participating teams was given access to anonymized ALS patient data previously collected through clinical trials, and asked to help predict how the disease would progress.

The first prize winners were comprised of two teams: the first with Palo Alto-based Lester Mackey and Lilly Fang; and the second with Washington, DC-based Liuxia Wang and Guang Li. Both teams were awarded $20,000 for their contributions.


A second place award was given to Torsten Hothorn, a professor in Munich.

While the winning teams weren’t based in Massachusetts, the competition had strong roots here: Prize4Life is based in Boston, and the data set the challenge used, the PRO-ACT database, was developed in part by the Neurological Clinical Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Innocentive, based in Waltham, also contributed, helping share the data set to over a thousand contest participants.

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