AiS Challenge Team Interim

Team Number: 066

School Name: Picacho Middle School

Area of Science: Biology

Project Title: Anthrax



Project Definition: With the recent Anthrax scare we decided to base our project on how it could spread. We knew that most cases of anthrax were spread through the mail, so we decide that this was the way to go. It's not usually seen in the United States, but it has been reported to come from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Anthrax is an acute infectious bacterium that infects the respiratory system. The cells multiply until the nutrients are not there anymore. The cells from spores become small pellets that last for years. Anthrax can be used for biological warfare.

Reason For Project: The reason we did this project is because of all the recent anthrax scares. We want to make a math model showing how fast this very deadly disease will spread. This simulation will also be able to show how other viruses spread like the flu. By making this we feel that we will be able to educate other people about anthrax and how it spreads. Anthrax is a part of our lives now and it is very necessary to be aware of its potential.

Problem Solution: To figure out how to solve this problem, we must first make a model of an everyday setting. In this model we must then include people or "Agents". These people are programmed to move around randomly to show normal people. We then put in non-infected letters. These letters move around as if they were in a post office. We then put in one anthrax-infected letter. When a non-infected letter is next to an infected letter then the non-infected letter turns into an anthrax infected letter. When a healthy person is next to an infected letter, then the person turns sick and can only be turned back when it is to the left of the doctor. Anthrax infected letters can also be cured when they are to the left of the doctor.

Progress To Date: We have been working on our program that was designed in Agentsheets. Agentsheets is a program in which you program the people to do what you want them to. You do this by going into the "Agents" behavior and editing it so that they can infect something, move randomly, cure another agent, etc. Since anthrax is not a contagious disease we have to make sure that only the letters will spread the disease. This is how it works: if A=anthrax and B=a piece of mail and C=a piece of anthrax infected mail then A+B=C. But if B=a human this statement would not be true.

Expected Results: Our program will be expected to output information that indicates anthrax spreading through the mail and how many pieces of mail is in the United States. This program will keep a count of how many infected pieces of mail, how many pieces of non-infected mail, how many people are sick and how many people are not sick. The count will increase or decrease with the mail getting infected, and the mail that is not infected.

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