An Integrated Modeling Environment to Study the Co-evolution of Networks, Individual Behavior and Epidemics

  • Christopher Barrett Network Dynamics and Sim Science Lab
  • Keith Bisset Network Dynamics and Sim Science Lab
  • Jonathan Leidig Network Dynamics and Sim Science Lab
  • Achla Marathe Network Dynamics and Sim Science Lab
  • Madhav V. Marathe Network Dynamics and Sim Science Lab
Keywords: Multi-Agent Systems, Simulation

Abstract

We discuss an interaction-based approach to study the coevolution between socio-technical networks, individual behaviors, and contagion processes on these networks. We use epidemics in human population as an example of this phenomenon. The methods consist of developing synthetic yet realistic national-scale networks using a first principles approach. Unlike simple random graph techniques, these methods combine real world data sources with behavioral and social theories to synthesize detailed social contact (proximity) networks. Individual-based models of within-host disease progression and inter-host transmission are then used to model the contagion process. Finally, models of individual behaviors are composed with disease progression models to develop a realistic representation of the complex system in which individual behaviors and the social network adapt to the contagion. These methods are embodied within Simdemics – a general purpose modeling environment to support pandemic planning and response. Simdemics is designed specifically to be scalable to networks with 300 million agents – the underlying algorithms and methods in Simdemics are all high-performance computing oriented methods. New advances in network science, machine learning, high performance computing, data mining and behavioral modeling were necessary to develop Simdemics. Simdemics is combined with two other environments, Simfrastructure and Didactic, to form an integrated cyberenvironment. The integrated cyber-environment provides the end-user flexible and seamless Internet based access to Simdemics. Service-oriented architectures play a critical role in delivering the desired services to the end user. Simdemics, in conjunction with the integrated cyber-environment, has been used in over a dozen user defined case studies. These case studies were done to support specific policy questions that arose in the context of planning the response to pandemics (e.g., H1N1, H5N1) and human initiated bio-terrorism events. These studies played a crucial role in the continual development and improvement of the cyber-environment.

Author Biographies

Christopher Barrett, Network Dynamics and Sim Science Lab
Director of the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory and professor in the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and Department of Computer Science
Keith Bisset, Network Dynamics and Sim Science Lab
Senior research associate in the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory in the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute
Jonathan Leidig, Network Dynamics and Sim Science Lab
Research assistant at the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory
Achla Marathe, Network Dynamics and Sim Science Lab
Lead economist at the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory
Madhav V. Marathe, Network Dynamics and Sim Science Lab
Deputy director of the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory and professor in the Department of Computer Science,
Published
2010-01-03
Section
Articles