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New Model of Disease Contagion Ranks U.S. Airports in Terms of their Spreading Influence

Researchers at MIT's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) are developing a mathematical model to determine the influence of the 40 largest U.S. airports in the spread of contagious diseases.

According to an MIT press release, most of the models created to describe the worldwide spread of disease have focused on the final stages of epidemics, examining the locations that ultimately develop the highest infection rates. The MIT study shifts the focus to the first few days of the epidemic, which could ultimately prove to be more beneficial to public health officials dealing with a crisis.

"The study of spreading dynamics and human mobility, using tools of complex networks, can be applied to many different fields of study to improve predictive models," says González, the Gilbert W. Winslow Career Development Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. "It's a relatively new but very robust approach. The incorporation of statistical physics methods to develop predictive models will likely have far-reaching effects for modeling in many applications."  

Read the full article from MIT.

Carlos Castillo-Chavez, Arizona State University, will be talking about this topic at MAA MathFest in Madison, Wisconsin. He will present the NAM David Blackwell Lecture "The Marriage between Disease Dynamics and Mathematics: A History of Success" on Friday, August 3, 1:00 - 1:50 p.m.

Related: MAA and Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013

Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013 logo

Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013 is a year-long program to publicize and promote the role of mathematics in developing a better understanding of dynamic processes affecting Planet Earth, ranging from geophysical systems governing climate to economic and financial activity.


Start Date: 
Friday, July 27, 2012