From InfluSim to the Explorator

Markus Schwehm (ExploSYS)

Wednesday, 17:30, 30 minutes | Schubartsaal    presentation file

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Markus Schwehm

Our business is the development of models for the spread of infectious diseases with emphasis on the modeling of interventions and containment strategies. Our university research is funded by the EU and aims at establishing modeling competence for epidemiology in Europe. Our spin-off company ExploSYS offers consulting for healthcare agencies and enterprises in their preparation for emerging infectious disease outbreaks and pandemics. In order to address questions arising from health care epidemic preparedness planning we develop deterministic and stochastic compartmental, individual-based, and network-based models and analyse the simulation results.

Existing epidemiology simulators usually are very academic – bare bone code with no graphic user interface and usually not freely available. In contrast to this, we have wrapped our simulators in a graphical user interface, put all model parameters on scales and speeded up the simulator such that interactive Exploration of the SYStem behaviour is possible. In order to make our spin-off more visible, we have decided to make one of our simulators – InfluSim, a planning tool for pandemic influenza – freely available on the Web. A first version of the InfluSim software was developed using AWT/Swing. InfluSim 1.0 was received very well by health care agencies in Germany and by our collaborators within the EU projects. However, the feedback revealed also that the software would need some enhancements like internationalisation, intro and help system, update service, drag and drop – all the infrastructure that would turn a rather academic piece of software into a professional product. This would have been an impossible task for a single developer with an academic background. Since our software was already developed using the Eclipse IDE and Eclipse promised to be a “framework for everything and nothing in particular”, we decided to re-implement the second version of InfluSim using SWT/JFace and the Eclipse Rich Client Platform. The improved look and feel of the software surely helped acceptance of the simulator in health care agencies all over the world including further European countries, USA and South Korea. For more information about InfluSim see www.influsim.info.

Markus Schwehm studied mathematics and computer science in Karlsruhe and Munich, presented a doctoral thesis in Erlangen, worked as postdoc for Tandem Computers in Cupertino, USA and worked as a research assistant in Stuttgart and Tübingen. He is co-founder of the ExploSYS GmbH, a company for modeling and simulation of exploratory systems.

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