Agent-Based Computational Modeling in Epidemiology and Disaster Preparedness: From Playground to Planet

Joshua Epstein, Johns Hopkins University

Following a review of classical mathematical epidemiology, Epstein will present selected applications of agent-based computational modeling to public health, across a range of hazards and scales, including: (1) a playground level infectious disease model (2) a county-level smallpox model calibrated to 20th century European outbreak data, and used to design containment strategies (3) two city-level hybrid models (of New Orleans and Los Angeles) combining high performance computational fluid dynamics and agent-based modeling to simulate/optimize evacuation dynamics given airborne toxic chemical releases (4) an analogous hybrid LA model of agents and earthquakes, (5) a 300 million agent model of the United States, used to simulate infectious disease dynamics and emergency surge capacity at national scale, and (6) The Global Epidemic Model (GEM) developed for the National Institutes of Health to study pandemic influenza transmission and containment on a planetary scale.

Speaker Biography

Joshua M. Epstein, Ph.D., is Professor of Emergency Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, with Joint Appointments in Applied Mathematics and Statistics, Economics, Environmental Health Sciences, and Biostatistics. He is Director of the JHU Center for Advanced Modeling in the Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences. He is an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute, a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, and was recently appointed to the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Identifying and Prioritizing New Preventive Vaccines. Earlier, Epstein was Senior Fellow in Economic Studies and Director of the Center on Social and Economic Dynamics at the Brookings Institution. He is a pioneer in agent-based computational modeling of biomedical and social dynamics. He has authored or co-authored several books including Growing Artificial Societies: Social Science from the Bottom Up, with Robert Axtell (MIT Press/Brookings Institution); Nonlinear Dynamics, Mathematical Biology, and Social Science (Addison-Wesley), and Generative Social Science: Studies in Agent-Based Computational Modeling (Princeton University Press). Epstein holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Amherst, a Ph.D. from MIT, and has taught at Princeton, and lectured worldwide. In 2008, he received an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, and in 2010 an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Amherst College.