See how diseases spread in these mesmerizing graphics
Wired - 04/01/2015
GLEAM, a project out of Northeastern University, is an epidemic forecaster 10 years in the making. It combines data on population—where people live down to a resolution of 25 square miles—along with how people commute and travel, characteristics of disease, and possible responses like travel restrictions and vaccination efforts. After crunching all this data, the model spits out a simulation of how a disease might propagate across the globe. “It doesn’t tell us exactly what’s going to happen in a deterministic way, but it’s important to policymakers who have to make decisions,” says Alessandro Vespignani, the computational scientist whose team built the model. “It gives you an idea of what to expect.” The colored paths depicted on the Epi-Rail map are just a few of the thousands of potential paths—represented by the gray lines in the background—that a swine flu pandemic could follow.