Abstract: The spread of disease can be slowed by certain aspects of real-world social networks, such as clustering and community structure, and of human behaviour, including social distancing and increased hygiene, many of which have already been studied. Here, we consider a model in which individuals with essential societal roles—be they teachers, first responders or health-care workers—fall ill, and are replaced with healthy individuals. We refer to this process as relational exchange, and incorporate it into a dynamic network model to demonstrate that replacing individuals can accelerate disease transmission. We find that the effects of this process are trivial in the context of a standard mass-action model, but dramatic when considering network structure, featuring accelerating spread, discontinuous transitions and hysteresis loops. This result highlights the inability of mass-action models to account for many behavioural processes. Using empirical data, we find that this mechanism parsimoniously explains observed patterns across 17 influenza outbreaks in the USA at a national level, 25 years of influenza data at the state level, and 19 years of dengue virus data from Puerto Rico. We anticipate that our findings will advance the emerging field of disease forecasting and better inform public health decision making during outbreaks.
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Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science.
Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter: the Hedonometer. Danforth co-runs the Computational Story Lab with Peter Dodds, and helps run UVM's reading group on complexity.
Laurent studies the interaction of structure and dynamics. His research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behavior and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.
Hines' work broadly focuses on finding ways to make electric energy more reliable, more affordable, with less environmental impact. Particular topics of interest include understanding the mechanisms by which small problems in the power grid become large blackouts, identifying and mitigating the stresses caused by large amounts of electric vehicle charging, and quantifying the impact of high penetrations of wind/solar on electricity systems.
Bagrow's interests include: Complex Networks (community detection, social modeling and human dynamics, statistical phenomena, graph similarity and isomorphism), Statistical Physics (non-equilibrium methods, phase transitions, percolation, interacting particle systems, spin glasses), and Optimization(glassy techniques such as simulated/quantum annealing, (non-gradient) minimization of noisy objective functions).