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Covid-19 epidemiological modelling: ODE and agent based strategies

This dynamically evolving project has brought together world experts from the domains of epidemiological modelling (Brown University, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) and high-performance computing (Brunel University London, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering) to work on developing agent-based modelling (ABM) architectures for a detailed and robust understanding of Covid-19 scenarios.

This agent-based method deploys representations of individuals interacting according to choices shaped by their own specific rules — analogous to the interactions of simulated characters in video-games.

an image of the example Network of Agent Based Model
Photo: an image of the example Network of Agent Based Model

A key challenge for large-scale agent-based models is the heavy demand for computational processing intensity. Indeed, one motivation behind this project has been to seek to demonstrate a proof of concept, investigating the effectiveness with which agent-based models might be applied to the detailed modelling of large-scale pandemics. We will be making use of Brunel’s large GridPP National Tier2 computing fabric, which has over 3500 cores and more than 2 PBs of storage, to run the ABM simulations for a multiplicity of configurations.

The objectives of the project are to:

  • convert existing simulations to ABM architectures, optimising them for Covid-19
  • test the code, and calibrate it, on the well-defined dataset from the cruise ship called the Diamond Princess
  • undertake a detailed analysis of the evolving profile of Covid-19 within Prison hotspots
GridPP fully supports the research you propose with Brown University on the modelling of infection diseases. In the shadow of the current pandemic, GridPP is involved in a number of such efforts, dedicating both computational resources and technical expertise, to projects with both national and international footprints. We believe that the work you propose is intrinsically important and demonstrates our community's ability to respond rapidly across disciplines and national boundaries. The GridPP PMB supports the short-term use of Brunel Tier-2 computing resources and technical expertise for such work and will work with you to ensure that the UK as a whole still delivers the LHC computing

Professor David Britton
(Project Leader for GridPP, University of Glasgow)

It is fantastic to see this significant simulation work developing to model Covid-19 interventions in both the UK and the US. The collaborative nature of this computationally intensive agent-based modelling brings together the powerful expertise of GridPP, Brown University and Brunel University London; a consortium of considerable strength that certainly gives confidence of success.

Professor Rebecca Lingwood
(Provost, Brunel University London)

Brunel University London is delighted to be supporting the work of the UK and US. This is one of several important projects where we are deploying our specialist research equipment, or drawing on the expertise of our academic research staff to reduce the impacts of Covid-19 on our community.

Professor Geoffrey Rodgers
(Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Brunel University London)

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Professor Akram Khan
Professor Akram Khan - Professor Akram Khan is a academic & researcher in the areas of fundamental and applied science. He has published extensively in a wide range of key academic journals. He has worked at most of the leading national laboratories in the world: DESY in Germany, CERN in Switzerland and SLAC in the USA. He read Mathematics and Theoretical Physics for his Bachelors’ degree at St Andrews University, taking his PhD in Experimental Particle Physics at University College London. Akram was a European Research Fellow at CIEMAT in Spain and at CERN in Switzerland, then a Senior Fellow at Edinburgh and Manchester Universities, going on to a faculty position at Stanford University, before joining Brunel University London in 2003. His recent research has been addressing the fundamental questions:'What is the difference between matter and anti-matter?' and 'What new exotic physics processes might help us to address the existing inadequacies of the Standard Model?' As part of his work in the field of applied science he is currently working on developing a novel particle cancer therapy machine in the UK, and on the next generation of internet technologies.'

Related Research Group(s)


Sensors and Instrumentation - Research in detectors, instrumentation, and data analysis methods applied in high energy particle physics, space science, medical imaging, and remote instrumentation and control.

Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 13/11/2023