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Scale matters: Variations in spatial and temporal patterns of epidemic outbreaks in agent-based models

Wise, Sarah; Milusheva, Sveta; Ayling, Sophie; Smith, Robert Manning; (2023) Scale matters: Variations in spatial and temporal patterns of epidemic outbreaks in agent-based models. Journal of Computational Science , 69 , Article 101999. 10.1016/j.jocs.2023.101999. Green open access

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Abstract

Agent-based modellers frequently make use of techniques to render simulated populations more computationally tractable on actionable timescales. Many generate a relatively small number of “representative” agents, each of which is “scaled up” to represent some larger number of individuals involved in the system being studied. The degree to which this “scaling” has implications for model forecasts is an underdeveloped field of study; in particular, there has been little known research on the spatial implications of such techniques. This work presents a case study of the impact of the simulated population size, using a model of the spread of COVID-19 among districts in Zimbabwe for the underlying system being studied. The impact of the relative scale of the population is explored in conjunction with the spatial setup, and crucial model parameters are varied to highlight where scaled down populations can be safely used and where modellers should be cautious. The results imply that in particular, different geographical dynamics of the spread of disease are associated with varying population sizes, with implications for researchers seeking to use scaled populations in their research. This article is an extension on work previously presented as part of the International Conference on Computational Science 2022 (Wise et al., 2022)[1].

Type: Article
Title: Scale matters: Variations in spatial and temporal patterns of epidemic outbreaks in agent-based models
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jocs.2023.101999
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jocs.2023.101999
Language: English
Additional information: © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. under a Creative Commons license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Agent-based modelling, Scaling, Synthetic population, Simulation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10168302
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