EPIPREDICT: User-oriented Extension and Automation of Agent-based Software for Pathogen-specific Modelling of Epidemics
Due to our globalized and ever-more connected world, infectious diseases spread wider and faster than ever before. Especially in wake of the 2020 Sars-Cov-2 pandemic, it becomes clear that such diseases can rise from very few cases to a global thread within days. While there are numerous epidemiological prediction models, most of them follow a macroscopic approach to approximate overall infections or case fatalities. However, a more profound understanding of how the spread is impacted by biological (age, sex, immunization, …) , social (relationships, working hours, individual response to infection, …) and public/political factors (public fear, infection prevention policies, …) can help to craft more sophisticated epidemics response mechanisms. To this end microsimulations are used to get a deeper understanding of drivers of the epidemic, to predict possible future states and to enhance decision making.
Since 2014, an agent-based infectious disease modeling platform was developed at the University of Münster in a joint project of information system developers, epidemiologists and virologists. With a strong focus on applicability, the software’s usability, as perceived by non-IT domain experts, has always been a key requirement. Hence, we could derive the following core features:
- A web-based and code-free modeling environment that can serve medical domain experts and decision-makers as a testbed to investigate infection scenarios and evaluate mitigation strategies
- A modular software architecture that facilitates reusability and extensibility for developers
- Rich simulation visualization tools to enhance and accelerate data analysis
- A platform to work collaboratively by documenting and storing test runs and results in an extensive database
As of March 1st, a new cross-sectional project, EPIPREDICT, funded by the Nationale Forschungsplattform für Zoonosen was initiated. This project aims at extending the modeling platform to enable the analysis of various zoonotic disease infection scenarios. These diseases originate from non-human animals and are in many cases extremely dangerous to humans as our immune system is generally not sufficiently prepared to respond to disease exposue. Bird-Flu, Swine-Flu, HIV, Ebola, Malaria, Hanta-Virus and the recent Sars-Cov-2 belong to this family of diseases. However, the individual dynamic of such diseases and the consequential model complexity varies significantly. Therefore, three major project areas with increasing complexity and respective real-world use cases were defined:
- Zoonotic pathogens in human populations
use cases: influenza viruses and vaccination coverage & introduction of corona viruses from endemic regions
- Unidirectional transmission from animals to humans
use case: transmission of hanta viruses from bank voles to humans
- Bidirectional transmission (animal – human – animal)
use case: bidirectional transmission of malaria tropica pathogens between mosquito populations and human populations
These models are created in close collaboration with our domain-expert project partners from the Institute of Molecular Virology, University of Münster; Department of Clinical Epidemiology, University of Münster; Julius Kühn-Institut, Münster; Charité, Berlin; Niedersächsisches Landesgesundheitsamt, Hannover and Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Greifswald - Insel Riems.
DRIVER: DRiving InnoVation in crisis management for European Resilience
DRIVER starts from the experience that neither successful R&D nor strong end-user demand always lead to innovation in the Crisis Management (CM) domain. This is a problem since as societies become more complex, increasing scope and unpredictability of potential crises and faster dynamics of major incidents put increasingly stringent demands on CM. European CM capabilities already constitute a mature System of Systems; hence wholesale redesign would often be too costly and might critically destabilise existing CM capabilities.
Therefore DRIVER focuses on augmenting rather than replacing existing capabilities and will aim at producing a comprehensive, well-balanced and cost-effective Portfolio of CM tools exploiting high potential RTD work from the last decade, not least in FP7 and FP6 projects. This portfolio will address not only needs of professional responders but also of society at large. DRIVER will carry out experimentation campaigns in three strands: tools and methods for responders, resilience of civil society and learning by both. The intra-strand experimentation leads into two Joint Experiment campaigns and a Final Demo focusing on challenges requiring highly complex interaction between CM tools.
To evaluate and benchmark these CM tools, a strong evidence base for tool selection is crucial; to this end DRIVER will build a distributed European CM Test-bed, itself a major innovation.
To maximise impact beyond the scope of the project and of the DRIVER consortium it is necessary to develop the sustainability of the European Test-bed, the exploitation of the DRIVER Portfolio of Tools and to make emerge a European CM community, which shares a common CM understanding and is increasingly willing to share capabilities and collaborate in CM innovation.
These three objectives need and feed each other, thus developing Europe’s ability to continue adapting its CM capabilities to emerging needs long after the project end.
Join the DRIVER Community: http://www.driver-project.eu/
Project status in progress Project time
05/2014 - 06/2020
Group Chair for Information Systems and Supply Chain Management (Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Hellingrath) Funding source EU FP 7 - Large-scale integrating project Project number 607798 Keywords Crisis management; Crisis management tools; experimentation campaigns; crisis demonstrations; Humanitäre Logistik
NITIMesr: A Networked and IT-enabled Firm's Perspective on Crisis Management
By the middle of the year, experts announced 2011 to be the most expensive year in counts of global disaster damages ever. The EU has articulated its ambition to become an effective player in crisis management as part of the European Security Strategy (Stockholm Programme 2010-2014, Lisbon Treaty). The Hyogo Framework stipulates that a substantial reduction of disaster losses is only possible through advanced governance and management.
NITIMesr has been designed as a practice-inspired research initiative that addresses research and conceptualization of new modes and competencies for coordination and collaboration in heterogeneous actor networks including involvement of individuals, advanced practices of vertically integrating governance of crisis management, strategic and operative management, with a special focus on involvement and engagement of self-motivated individuals - actors, agents, volunteer, citizens or, as we call them - entrepreneurs.
NITIMesr brings together an interdisciplinary group of researchers and industry partners including the two leading European security clusters around the international court of justice in Den Haag and the Bavarian Security Cluster around the International Campus Aerospace and Security, BICAS, at the German EADS headquarters in Munich. The aim is to explore new frontiers of safety and security with the institutional, governance, organizational and managerial challenges of crisis networks, to develop and test innovative approaches for coordination in real world settings and to build Europe-wide connected clusters for crisis management and implement integrated solutions. Both clusters expect universities to provide the key success factor talent through leadership for joint research, education, development and career development. The role of this ITN is to provide initial resources to establish European-level leadership to build research and training capacities in the security clusters on advanced crises management.
For more information see: NITIM Website
Project status finished Project time 10/2012 - 09/2016 Group Chair for Information Systems and Supply Chain Management (Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Hellingrath) Funding source EC FP 7 - Marie Curie Actions - Initial Training Networks Project number 317382 Keywords Crisis Management; Humanitarian Logistics