Presentation by L. Natali at Spatial Data Science 2020, 11 June 2021

Comparison of different evolution regimes of disease spreading: free evolution (bottom left half) vs network strategy (top right half). (Image by Laura Natali.)
Improving epidemic testing and containment strategies using machine learning. 
Laura Natali, Saga Helgadottir, Onofrio M. Maragò, Giovanni Volpe.
Submitted to SDS2020
Date: 11 June
Time: 16:15 (CEST)

Abstract: 
Containment of epidemic outbreaks entails great societal and economic costs.  Cost-effective containment strategies rely on efficiently identifying infected individuals, making the best possible use of the available testing resources. Therefore, quickly identifying the optimal testing strategy is of critical importance. Here, we demonstrate that machine learning can be used to identify which individuals are most beneficial to test, automatically and dynamically adapting the testing strategy to the characteristics of the disease outbreak. Specifically, we simulate an outbreak using the archetypal susceptible-infectious-recovered (SIR) model and we use data about the first confirmed cases to train a neural network that learns to make predictions about the rest of the population. Using these prediction, we manage to contain the outbreak more effectively and more quickly than with standard approaches. Furthermore, we demonstrate how this method can be used also when there is a possibility of reinfection (SIRS model) to efficiently eradicate an endemic disease.

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