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Online J Public Health Inform. 2011;3(2). pii: ojphi.v3i2.3607. doi: 10.5210/ojphi.v3i2.3607. Epub 2011 Nov 7.

Improving Agent Based Models and Validation through Data Fusion.

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  • 1Internet Innovation Centre, University of Manitoba.

Abstract

This work is contextualized in research in modeling and simulation of infection spread within a community or population, with the objective to provide a public health and policy tool in assessing the dynamics of infection spread and the qualitative impacts of public health interventions. This work uses the integration of real data sources into an Agent Based Model (ABM) to simulate respiratory infection spread within a small municipality. Novelty is derived in that the data sources are not necessarily obvious within ABM infection spread models. The ABM is a spatial-temporal model inclusive of behavioral and interaction patterns between individual agents on a real topography. The agent behaviours (movements and interactions) are fed by census / demographic data, integrated with real data from a telecommunication service provider (cellular records) and person-person contact data obtained via a custom 3G Smartphone application that logs Bluetooth connectivity between devices. Each source provides data of varying type and granularity, thereby enhancing the robustness of the model. The work demonstrates opportunities in data mining and fusion that can be used by policy and decision makers. The data become real-world inputs into individual SIR disease spread models and variants, thereby building credible and non-intrusive models to qualitatively simulate and assess public health interventions at the population level.

KEYWORDS:

Agent Based Modeling; Personal Contact Patterns

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