Student Seminar

Spread of contagious diseases within interconnected populations

Amin Safaeesirat, SFU Physics
Location: C9000

Friday, 10 February 2023 01:30PM PST


The spread of contagious diseases is one of the significant challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that such outbreaks are not isolated incidents, and future pandemics may occur. To alleviate the impact of such outbreaks, it is important to understand when and where they started, and where they may spread next. In 2013, Brockmann et al. came up with an interesting idea to address these questions. They introduced the concept of “effective distance” between two given subpopulations of an interconnected network of populations (like a network of cities or countries), based on travel flow, rather than geographical distance. It turned out that there is a high correlation between the effective distance and the first arrival of the disease, which provides valuable insight into the spread of contagious diseases. In this seminar, we will examine how Brockmann et al.'s approach can be used to explore the temporal and spatial behavior of contagious diseases on a macroscopic scale.