How can you prevent the spread of an epidemic - especially in urban areas with dense populations and diverse immunities? Computer programs based on accurate sim cities could help real cities plan their best emergency responses.
Michigan Engineers are working on computer models that could help tackle a challenging problem during the outbreak of an epidemic: which facilities should a city close to help limit the public's exposure to the illness?
U-M professor Siqian Shen, who makes computer models that mimic systems governed in part by probability and random chance, is helping to devise a model to help cities make those decisions quickly and effectively. Running building closure experiments on a simulation of Portland, Oregon, her team found that it's only worthwhile to close popular sites if the visitors will scatter to many smaller alternative destinations, rather than choosing another heavily populated location.