Assumptions Management in Simulation of Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Authors

Henrik Eriksson, Magnus Morin, Joakim Ekberg, Johan Jenvald, Toomas Timpka

Abstract

Simulation of outbreaks of infectious disease is an important tool for understanding the dynamics of the outbreak process, the impact of disease and popula-tion properties, and the potential effect of interventions. However, the interpretation of the simulation results requires a clear understanding of the assumptions made in the underlying model. Typical simulation tasks, such as exploring the space of different scenarios for population and disease properties, require multiple runs with varying model parameters. For such complex tasks, the management of the as-sumptions made becomes a daunting and potentially error-prone undertaking. We report explicit assumptions management as an approach to capture, model, and document the assumptions for simulator runs. It was found possible to extend ontology-based simulation, which uses an ontological model to parameterize the simulator, to incorporate an assumptions model in the ontology. We conclude that explicit as-sumptions modeling should be part of any infectious disease simulation architecture from start.

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