A prototype app using Microsoft Azure's artificial intelligence to diagnose pneumonia has won its developer an international award.
Company-X senior software developer Jiadong Chen built an image classifier for detecting bacterial and viral pneumonia using Microsoft Azure artificial intelligence and Unity, winning Microsoft’s most valuable professional (MVP) global cloud skills challenge.
Azure offers a portfolio of AI services for developers and data scientists while Unity is the leading platform for creating interactive, real-time content in 2D, 3D and virtual reality.
“Jiadong chose this project to contribute to fighting the public health emergency and help medical professionals diagnose lung diseases using AI,” said Microsoft MVP senior member Jeffrey Kitt on the Microsoft MVP award programme blog.
The world had changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chen said in a post.
“Medical staff around the world have shown bravery and resilience in the fight against COVID-19, and some even sacrificed their lives while performing their duties," he wrote.
"As an ordinary person, as a programmer, I also want to help."
Chen's first thought was to use Azure and Unity to create an image classifier that could be used to analyse lung radiographs.
Chen joined Company-X in 2020 from Unity, where he worked as a field engineer.
"In addition to the game industry, Unity can also play a role in other industries, so I think it is a very interesting idea to combine Azure and Unity to create some features that help people," he said.
Chen, a six-time winner of the Microsoft most valuable professional, developer technologies award, is one of 3000 MVPs internationally, won a Microsoft Surface for his efforts.
“I am super excited because we all know that there is only one first place,” he said.
“This award gives me more confidence. In addition to excitement, I am also very happy sharing my knowledge with the community during this process by writing an article on Azure, AI and sharing tutorial collections."
Chen is also the author of the 2016 book Unity 3D which has sold 15,000 copies in print and eBook editions, and is working on a follow-up on Unity, .NET and Azure.
Company-X artificial intelligence specialist Lance Bauerfeind said the win showed Chen was exceptionally innovative with Microsoft cognitive services, which can be used in an "infinite" number of ways.