Friday, February 5, 2016

Shouldn't everything be a video game?

Computer types at Colorado State in Fort Collins have joined with statisticians to turn disease outbreak planning into a video game.

Well, it has been a movie several times--why not?

This three-year project is funded by the Dept of Homeland Security--so it's not all fun and games.

Livestock outbreaks can spread fast across the country..or Bird flu...these illnesses not only affect animals but the economy and even humans.

When there is an outbreak, you need to know how severe it is, how long it will last, how many field personnel are needed, and what the economic consequences will be.

Computer scientists run "what ifs" like this constantly. They adjust for variables.

Disease planners, though, often work in isolation and don't know how their decisions affect the decisions others make.

The idea of  video game approach is to put all decision-makers in one virtual room--field agents to veterinarians--and plan.

This has to be useful in real time--no matter how many "players" or variables, Real time means milliseconds.

Challenging but with Zika and Ebola and bird flu etc popping up, probably timely.

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