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Supercomputing Challenge

Achoo! Modeling the Spread of the Flu

Team: 56


Area of Science: Epidemiology

Interim: Project Definition: The flu is a highly contagious respiratory disease. The World Health Organization is warning that yet another deadly flu pandemic is imminent. Even simple models can provide insight to help guide public health policies. The goal of this project is to develop a simple computer program to model the spread of the flu in a contained environment (such as a school), and then to use that model to examine the effects of different parameters on the evolution of the epidemic. Problem Approach: I am currently using StarLogo to model my school. I plan to focus on making my model as accurate as possible, which will include researching and incorporating reference information about the flu, as well as data regarding school and class sizes. From some previous research, I know that modeling student-to-student interactions is important, and I plan to focus on this aspect of the model. Progress: I’ve been researching some other possible platforms to model the simulation in. Java has come up as a potential platform to use, due to its similarity to StarLogo in many of its program abilities. Since Java allows thousands pf agents to run independently, it could be a useful tool in modeling a school. I’ve also discovered how to model certain types of interactions between students, both in Java and StarLogo. I’m planning to implement this into my program, where a school environment has already been set up. Predicted Results: Models of flu pandemics have helped the nation prepare for possible flu outbreaks. Hopefully, my simulation will be able to realistically model the spread of the flu (and other similar diseases) in a contained environment.

Team Members:

  Emily TenCate

Sponsoring Teacher: Jessie Gac

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