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  1. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Optimizing the impact on the economy of control strategies aiming at containing the spread of COVID-19 is a critical challenge. We use daily new case counts of COVID-19 patients reported by local health administrations from different Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) within the US to parametrize a model that well describes the propagation of the disease in each area. We then introduce a time-varying control input that represents the level of social distancing imposed on the population of a given area and solve an optimal control problem with the goal of minimizing the impact of social distancing on the economy in the presence of relevant constraints, such as a desired level of suppression for the epidemics at a terminal time. We find that with the exception of the initial time and of the final time, the optimal control input is well approximated by a constant, specific to each area, which contrasts with the implemented system of reopening ‘in phases’. For all the areas considered, this optimal level corresponds to stricter social distancing than the level estimated from data. Proper selection of the time period for application of the control action optimally is important: depending on the particular MSA this period should be either short or long or intermediate. We also consider the case that the transmissibility increases in time (due e.g. to increasingly colder weather), for which we find that the optimal control solution yields progressively stricter measures of social distancing. We finally compute the optimal control solution for a model modified to incorporate the effects of vaccinations on the population and we see that depending on a number of factors, social distancing measures could be optimally reduced during the period over which vaccines are administered to the population. 
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  2. Abstract

    Real-world systems in epidemiology, social sciences, power transportation, economics and engineering are often described as multilayer networks. Here we first define and compute the symmetries of multilayer networks, and then study the emergence of cluster synchronization in these networks. We distinguish between independent layer symmetries, which occur in one layer and are independent of the other layers, and dependent layer symmetries, which involve nodes in different layers. We study stability of the cluster synchronous solution by decoupling the problem into a number of independent blocks and assessing stability of each block through a Master Stability Function. We see that blocks associated with dependent layer symmetries have a different structure to the other blocks, which affects the stability of clusters associated with these symmetries. Finally, we validate the theory in a fully analog experiment in which seven electronic oscillators of three kinds are connected with two kinds of coupling.

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  3. Abstract

    The effects of molecularly targeted drug perturbations on cellular activities and fates are difficult to predict using intuition alone because of the complex behaviors of cellular regulatory networks. An approach to overcoming this problem is to develop mathematical models for predicting drug effects. Such an approach beckons for co-development of computational methods for extracting insights useful for guiding therapy selection and optimizing drug scheduling. Here, we present and evaluate a generalizable strategy for identifying drug dosing schedules that minimize the amount of drug needed to achieve sustained suppression or elevation of an important cellular activity/process, the recycling of cytoplasmic contents through (macro)autophagy. Therapeutic targeting of autophagy is currently being evaluated in diverse clinical trials but without the benefit of a control engineering perspective. Using a nonlinear ordinary differential equation (ODE) model that accounts for activating and inhibiting influences among protein and lipid kinases that regulate autophagy (MTORC1, ULK1, AMPK and VPS34) and methods guaranteed to find locally optimal control strategies, we find optimal drug dosing schedules (open-loop controllers) for each of six classes of drugs and drug pairs. Our approach is generalizable to designing monotherapy and multi therapy drug schedules that affect different cell signaling networks of interest.

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