Lesson 5 Activity 1 - Epidemiology

  • Watch a video on Modeling the Spread of Disease
  • Learn a new CS concept
Epidemiology and Modeling the Spread of Disease
Scientists who study epidemics are called epidemiologists. Epidemiologists study the spread of disease such as the swine flu.   Epidemics are hard to study because they are made up of many connected and inter-related parts interacting in different ways.  They can be hard to predict and sometimes the way a disease spreads creates patterns that cannot be predicted even if you know something about the people involved.  These are characteristics of what we call “Complex systems”.  (Many interacting parts, hard to predict, patterns emerge that are not predictable even if you know about individuals). One way epidemiologists try to understand epidemics is to run computer simulations of how diseases spread and test different measures that could be taken to stop an epidemic.”

The video below introduces epidemiological modeling with the example of MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus)
featuring Dr. Charles (Chick) Macal of the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory.

Learn a new CS concept: (random function)

Quiz questions:

1 point
What was the goal of the CA-MRSA project?

1 point
Which of the following characteristics of humans was NOT included in the model?

Reflect on other contagions in the news or local to your region.  Discuss how agent-based modeling could be used to study and understand the spread of that contagion. 
Post your reflection in your portfolio in the section "Reflections->Computer Modeling and Simulation" under the heading "Modeling contagion".