A Journey in COVID-19 Pandemic Modeling for the Hawaiian Islands

December 3, 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Online via Zoom


The current pandemic highlighted the need for an interdisciplinary approach involving mathematicians, computer scientists, engineers, biologists and social scientists to generate a broader dialogue and effective communication approaches capable of conveying insights into the potential spread of pathogens to wider audiences. HiPAM is a voluntary partnership of Hawaii-based epidemiologists, data scientists, and health professionals that was formed in April 2020 by Dr. V. Fan in response to the pandemic. Since HiPAM has: Closely monitored COVID transmission and data; Examined the influence of multiple policy interventions on COVID transmission; Publicly maintained a two-week COVID forecast since July 2020 through calibrating multiple models (compartmental and agent based); Communicated to the public about the forecast; Upon request, provided scenario and decision support of different interventions (‘What If’ scenarios).

Key to the work of HiPAM is mathematical modeling. Mathematical models have been central to the public and policy debate throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. When combined with empirical data, modeling provides a valuable tool to characterize the extent of an epidemic, predict the scale of the potential healthcare problem, and explore the impact of different intervention strategies. For contained environments such as archipelagos, our work analyzed the heterogeneity effects to discern what level of granularity and detail is appropriate for making policy decisions related to curtailing disease spread. We also analyzed complexity both in terms of conceptual design and computational time of two types of epidemiological models: compartmentalized SEIR model and the COVID-19 Agent-based Simulator.

In this talk we will be reflecting upon a year of modeling in the current COVID-19 pandemic, for the State of Hawaii, discussing challenges and how it could serve as a stepping stone toward the creation of a more established structure such as a prevention pandemic center. The pandemic has been providing a unique opportunity for students to participate in research spanning experimental, modeling, computational and data sciences we will also address in this talk.

Speakers Bio

Tom Blamey is currently a member of the mathematics faculty and statistics/data science coordinator at the University of Hawai‘i Maui College. After earning his BS in Mathematics/Actuarial Science at Central Washington University, Tom went on to work as a programmer, data scientist, actuary in San Diego for 15 years, followed by 15 more years of teaching at universities/colleges in San Diego. Tom holds a MS in Biostatistics/Statistics from San Diego State University. He currently volunteers as a co-chair of HiPAM.

Dr. Monique Chyba joined the department of Mathematics at the University of Hawaii-Manoa in 2002 after a journey that took her from Switzerland (where she got her PhD) to Paris, Harvard, Princeton, Santa Cruz and finally Honolulu. Dr. Chyba's main research area concerns the development of geometric methods to solve optimal control problems. One of her central objectives has been to understand the role of singular extremals in optimal strategies for nonlinear control systems. More specifically, a primary objective is to use differential geometric techniques to exploit in the so-called time optimal problem the particular structure of the Lie algebra formed by the vector fields describing a controlled mechanical system. Her research is oriented towards applications with a special emphasis on the motion planning problem for unmanned underwater or aerial vehicles. Modeling and computational/data driven research has become a larger focus over the last few years for Dr. Chyba’s. In particular with a group of colleagues and students, and in partnership with the Hawaii Pandemic Applied Modeling Work Group (HiPAM), they developed models and mathematical tools to analyze the spread of Covid-19 during the current pandemic.

Ticket Information

Event Sponsor
Hawai‘i Data Science Institute, University of Hawaii

More Information
956-3503, https://datascience.hawaii.edu/

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