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New model improves accuracy of machine learning in COVID-19 diagnosis while preserving privacy


Researchers in the UK and China have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) model that can diagnose COVID-19 as well as a panel of professional radiologists, while preserving the privacy of patient data. The international team, led by the University of Cambridge and the Huazhong University of Science and Technology, used a technique called federated learning to build their model. Using federated learning, an AI model in one hospital or country can be independently trained and verified using a dataset from another hospital or country, without data sharing. The researchers based their model on more than 9,000 CT scans from approximately 3,300 patients in 23 hospitals in the UK and China. Their results, reported in the journal Nature Machine Intelligence, provide a framework where AI techniques can be made more trustworthy and accurate, especially in areas such as medical diagnosis where privacy is vital.