March 19, 2010
Colloquium Speaker: Joshua Epstein
Joshua M. Epstein is a Senior Fellow in Economic Studies and Director of the Center on Social and Economic Dynamics at The Brookings Institution. He is also an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute. He holds a Ph.D. from MIT and is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences. Dr. Epstein is a recent recipient of the prestigious 2008 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award. He is a lead investigator in Modeling and Simulation for the DHS University Center of Excellence on Preparedness and Catastrophic Event Response (PACER) based at the Johns Hopkins Medical School. He also directs Global Epidemic Modeling for the National Institutes of Health's Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS), a collaboration of research and informatics groups to develop computational models of infectious agents and control strategies. 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, 1996). His latest book, Generative Social Science: Studies in Agent-Based Computational Modeling was recently published by the Princeton University Press.
Following an epigrammatic 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) a 300 million agent model of the United States, used to simulate infectious disease dynamics and emergency surge capacity at national scale, and (5) The Global Epidemic Model (GEM) developed for the National Institutes of Health to study pandemic influenza transmission and containment on a planetary scale.