Challenge Team Interim Report
Team Number: 008
School Name: Albuquerque Academy
Area of Science: Microbiology
Project Title: Analysis of an Ebola Outbreak on the US
As stated in the abstract, (link above) the task at hand is to create a simulation which will take a rather large number of variables and model with a fair degree of accuracy, the toll incurred upon the 48 continental United States in the event of an outbreak of the Ebola virus.
The broad scope of the simulation has mandated that an extremely large and thorough amount of research had to be completed. Thus far, the team has successfully tapped a multitude of resources, thus providing us with the information we need, or, in the event that the information itself was unavailable, enough empirical data that, when properly utilized, will yield through derivation the information that the simulation requires, while still retaining a high degree of accuracy, thus allowing us to keep the output within an acceptable range with only minor deviation from the actual data for each area. Reliability of the data was not a major consideration as we have been rather fortuitous in our acquisition of multiple government resources from which we are currently utilizing data. Thus, the group currently has in its posession the data for population, population density, housing statistics, transportation statistics, air traffic and sea traffic statistics (where applicable), ambient weather conditions which may help or hinder the spread of the virus, highway travel statistics, area type, and other statistics which will be utilized to modify the transmission of the virus.
The process involved a large amount of research devoted to the Ebola virus itself. The strain of virus we will simulate has been identified, and we have, through a conglomeration of several sources, been able to find the necessary patterns and statistics which describe this strain. This, combined with the modifiers that will accompany our other data, should provide a model with a decent degree of accuracy.
As should be evident, a considerable amount of time and effort has gone into the research phase of our project. We have, however, simultaneously conceptualized and refined the structure which the program itself will take. We are currently tackling the rather large task of creating a library structure from which we will pull all information necessary to the execution of the program. Work on this has started and is progressing, and we are simultaneously refining the base coding structure to a point at which we believe it will properly and accurately address the above enumerated problem.
Empirical data for this particular model is not to be found in the public arena, and it would appear that any such previous results are not commonly, if at all, published. As such, we will attempt to evaluate the data we obtain based on the records of previous outbreaks. As there have been no such catastrophes on a scale such as the model hypothesizes, an extrapolation of the results will be necessary and at very least will serve as an indicator as to if wew are completely inaccurate or not.