ARC: Open-source technology to support the COVID-19 crisis response.

More than ever before with the outbreak of COVID-19, governments and institutions are globally faced with critical challenges to meet resource needs within extremely short timeframes.

To support this endeavor, the National COVID-19 Science Task Force collaborated with EPFL/Blue Brain Project, ETHZ, Spiez Laboratory and Apptitude to create the digital platform “ARC” to match critical needs by Switzerland’s diagnostic laboratories with the support offered by the Swiss academic sector.

Our know-how contributing to the COVID-19 Task Force

Apptitude not only brought its know-how in the conception and design of the interface but also our experience in the development of complex matchmaking systems, which combined with the computational expertise of the EPFL – Blue Brain Project team allowed us to create a powerful and efficient “matchmaking” system to meet the needs of crisis management.

Resource requesters, such as hospitals and laboratories, add their demands in terms of equipment, consumables, supplies, knowledge or workforce.

Simultaneously, resource providers, such as universities or laboratories operating in other fields, provide information on their available materials. A team of trained moderators is responsible for conducting the correspondence in order to allocate critical resources as efficiently as possible.

Therefore, the key objectives of the mission were to :

  • Design, develop and roll out a new ARC platform out as quickly as possible and be able to evolve it during the actual operation
  • Allow diagnostic laboratories to declare needs with precise identification
  • Allow Swiss academic groups to declare supplies responding to needs using a controlled vocabulary
  • Allow Spiez Laboratory to sort out priorities of the requests and approve the most appropriate matches according to the curated situational awareness in Switzerland

An intuitive user experience

The user experience of the ARC platform was designed to be both intuitive from the first login, while remaining effective in everyday situations, even in stressful circumstances. In order to deliver the platform as quickly as possible, the design process took place in iteration loops of a few days each or even a few hours at a sustained work pace.

The design evolved on the basis of an interactive prototype in close collaboration with the respective project stakeholders. End-user representatives from the Swiss national COVID-19 Scientific Task Force were directly involved from the early stages of the design to ensure that a relevant and effective application was designed for their specific needs.

An open-source platform relevant beyond the current pandemic

The ARC platform’s open-source technology would allow rapid deployment to provide assistance in other countries affected by COVID-19. In particular, when searching for specialized resources such as key material assets, infrastructure availability, and university sector staff.


“The importance of the open source ARC Platform technology is that, it is not limited to its current use in Switzerland or, its use in the on-going COVID-19 crisis. It offers a way to respond to unconventional circumstances, in particular when the normal supply chain cannot be used”

Prof. Felix Schürmann, Director of Computing at EPFL – Blue Brain in Frontiers, Science News.


Since the platform is configurable with respect to actual roles and types of demands, its relevance easily extends beyond the current COVID-19 pandemic in order to assist with other types of emergencies such as natural disaster response scenarios.

Scientific publication in Frontiers, Public Health

The ARC platform is the subject of a scientific research article published in Frontiers in Public Health that you can explore using the links below:

Scientific article in Frontiers, Digital Public Health
ARC: An Open Web-Platform for Request/Supply Matching for a Prioritized and Controlled COVID-19 Response

Article in Frontiers, Science News blog
COVID-19 crisis – a technology providing unconventional supply relief

Article in EPFL News
“COVID-19 Crisis – A technology providing unconventional supply relief”