C³M goes viral!

C³M @ DGepi’s Infectious Disease Modeling Workshop

Mathematical models were the main driver of many countries’ counter pandemic strategy. Consequently, this year’s annual workshop of the Working Group Infectious Disease Epidemiology within the German Society for Epidemiology (DGEpi) and the German Association for Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology (gmds) explored the rich palette of tools and techniques used for estimating epidemics and the effectiveness of intervention strategies. Two excellent key notes from Prof. Mirjam Kretzschmar (University of Utrecht) and Prof. Stefan Flasche (London School of Hygiene & Tropicl Medicine) on modeling concepts and the use of models in international policy advice kicked-off a very interesting and multidisciplinary two-day event. More than 50 participants from various research areas and international public health institutions came together for an introduction to the world of infectious disease modeling.

Our crisis management research team’s Johannes Ponge hosted the second day where he provided the participants with a brief introduction to the agent-based modeling paradigm. Subsequently, the workshop attendees were encouraged to develop simple agent-based epidemiologic models using the NetLogo software. Throughout the four-hour practical, the participants got a glimpse behind the scenes of complex system models. They went through the process of generating a model that is able to estimate the effectiveness of intervention strategies such as quarantining of infected individuals. Considering the workshop only lasting for half a day, the participants presented some excellent models and a deep understanding of cause-and-effect relations, both, regarding the spread of diseases as well as the assessment of intervention strategies. As Prof. Flasche mentioned in his keynote: “The world needs more modelers”. With these words still on our minds a week after, we considered this workshop and excellent opportunity to excite more people for our profession! We are grateful for having been part of this great event. See you next year!