Microsoft data scientists develop new tool to fight sudden infant death syndrome

A team of data scientists from Microsoft recently donated a new research tool to Seattle Children’s Research Institute that will help people in solving one of the world’s biggest medical mysteries, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Approximately 4,000 infants in the U.S. die each year from sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID), which includes SIDS. They are also planning to make this tool available to researchers worldwide.

More than the research tool, I was very inspired by the story behind it. John Kahan, Microsoft general manager for Customer Data and Analytics, started working on this tool after he and his wife, Heather, lost their only son, Aaron, 13 years ago. Joining his mission, several other data scientists at Microsoft started contributing hundreds of volunteer hours to create the research tool.

“My mission is to ensure that no parent experiences the pain of losing a child to SIDS, or worry that their child may be next,” Kahan said. “I am incredibly moved and grateful to my team for volunteering their personal time to create this tool for SIDS research.”

They used publicly available data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including information on 29 million births and over 27,000 sudden and unexplained infant deaths from 2004 to 2010. They used this large dataset and built several machine learning and statistical models to interpret it and crunch massive amounts of data. They used Microsoft Azure and Power BI for this process. Microsoft Philanthropies donated Azure cloud services to power the technology. The technology passed an important milestone test late last year, verifying correlations with SIDS already discovered by researchers.

Read the whole story about this tool here.

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