Simulation-Based Policy Analysis for Reducing Ebola Transmission Risk in Air Travel
An air-transport model, which operates at the level of individual flights, will be integrated with a phylogeographic model (that captures the historical processes responsible for the existing geographic distributions of individuals) in order to analyze the spread of infection between geographic regions when potentially infected populations are being transported into, out of and across regions, by air travel. The result of this work will help identify policy as well as operational solutions to reduce the risk of a pandemic, and also set up scalable software capabilities on a readily available infrastructure that can be used to address the current Ebola pandemic, as well as respond quickly to new emergencies. This proposal integrates the PIs combined expertise in modeling human movement in planes, modeling the spread of infections, building a software infrastructure for decision support, and large-scale parallel computing. The models will be integrated using the Complex Systems framework (CSF, developed by a member of the proposing team) that provides a comprehensive decision support environment for analysis. Through this project, and in addition, CSF's scalability will be enhanced to petascale machines, and methods will be developed to reduce the large computational cost of these simulations.