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  1. Abstract

    Human mobility is a primary driver of infectious disease spread. However, existing data is limited in availability, coverage, granularity, and timeliness. Data-driven forecasts of disease dynamics are crucial for decision-making by health officials and private citizens alike. In this work, we focus on a machine-learned anonymized mobility map (hereon referred to as AMM) aggregated over hundreds of millions of smartphones and evaluate its utility in forecasting epidemics. We factor AMM into a metapopulation model to retrospectively forecast influenza in the USA and Australia. We show that the AMM model performs on-par with those based on commuter surveys, which aremore »sparsely available and expensive. We also compare it with gravity and radiation based models of mobility, and find that the radiation model’s performance is quite similar to AMM and commuter flows. Additionally, we demonstrate our model’s ability to predict disease spread even across state boundaries. Our work contributes towards developing timely infectious disease forecasting at a global scale using human mobility datasets expanding their applications in the area of infectious disease epidemiology.

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  2. Discrete dynamical systems serve as useful formal models to study diffusion phenomena in social networks. Motivated by applications in systems biology, several recent papers have studied algorithmic and complexity aspects of diffusion problems for dynamical systems whose underlying graphs are directed, and may contain directed cycles. Such problems can be regarded as reachability problems in the phase space of the corresponding dynamical system. We show that computational intractability results for reachability problems hold even for dynamical systems on directed acyclic graphs (dags). We also show that for dynamical systems on dags where each local function is monotone, the reachability problemmore »can be solved efficiently.« less
  3. We study evacuation dynamics in a major urban region (Mi- ami, FL) using a combination of a realistic population and social contact network, and an agent-based model of evacuation behavior that takes into account peer influence and concerns of looting. These factors have been shown to be important in prior work, and have been modeled as a threshold-based network dynamical systems model (2mode-threshold), which involves two threshold parameters - for a family's decision to evacuate and to remain in place for looting and crime concerns - based on the fraction of neighbors who have evacuated. The dynamics of such modelsmore »are not well understood, and we observe that the threshold parameters have a signifi cant impact on the evacuation dynamics. We also observe counter-intuitive eff ects of increasing the evacuation threshold on the evacuated fraction in some regimes of the model parameter space, which suggests that the details of realistic networks matter in designing policies.« less
  4. Data from surveys administered after Hurricane Sandy provide a wealth of information that can be used to develop models of evacuation decision-making. We use a model based on survey data for predicting whether or not a family will evacuate. The model uses 26 features for each household including its neighborhood characteristics. We augment a 1.7 million node household-level synthetic social network of Miami, Florida with public data for the requisite model features so that our population is consistent with the survey-based model. Results show that household features that drive hurricane evacuations dominate the e ects of specifying large numbers ofmore »families as "early evacuators" in a contagion process, and also dominate e ffects of peer influence to evacuate. There is a strong network-based evacuation suppression eff ect from the fear of looting. We also study spatial factors a ecting evacuation rates as well as policy interventions to encourage evacuation.« less
  5. Neighborhood e ects have an important role in evacuation decision-making by a family. Owing to peer influence, neighbors evacuating can motivate a family to evacuate. Paradoxically, if a lot of neighbors evacuate, then the likelihood of an individual or family deciding to evacuate decreases, for fear of crime and looting. Such behavior cannot be captured using standard models of contagion spread on networks, e.g., threshold, independent cascade, and linear threshold models. Here, we propose a new threshold-based graph dynamical system model, 2mode-threshold, which captures this dichotomy. We study theoretically the dynamical properties of 2mode-threshold in di fferent networks, and fimore »nd signi ficant diff erences from a standard threshold model. We build and characterize small world networks of Virginia Beach, VA, where nodes are geolocated families (households) in the city and edges are interactions between pairs of families. We demonstrate the utility of our behavioral model through agent-based simulations on these small world networks. We use it to understand evacuation rates in this region, and to evaluate the e ffects of modeling parameters on evacuation decision dynamics. Speci fically, we quantify the effects of (i) network generation parameters, (ii) stochasticity in the social network generation process, (iii) model types (2mode-threshold vs. stan- dard threshold models), (iv) 2mode-threshold model parameters, (v) and initial conditions, on computed evacuation rates and their variability. An illustrative example result shows that the absence of looting e ect can overpredict evacuation rates by as much as 50%.« less
  6. Web-based interactions enable agents to coordinate and generate collective action. Coordination can facilitate the spread of contagion to large groups within networked populations. In game theoretic contexts, coordination requires that agents share common knowledge about each other. Common knowledge emerges within a group when each member knows the states and the thresholds (preferences) of the other members, and critically, each member knows that everyone else has this information. Hence, these models of common knowledge and coordination on communication networks are fundamentally di fferent from influence-based unilateral contagion models, such as those devised by Granovetter and Centola. Moreover, these models utilizemore »different mechanisms for driving contagion. We evaluate three mechanisms of a common knowledge model that can represent web-based communication among groups of people on Facebook, using nine social (media) networks. We provide theoretical results indicating the intractability in identifying all node-maximal bicliques in a network, which is the characterizing network structure that produces common knowledge. Bicliques are required for model execution. We also show that one of the mechanisms (named PD2) dominates another mechanism (named ND2). Using simulations, we compute the spread of contagion on these networks in the Facebook model and demonstrate that di fferent mechanisms can produce widely varying behaviors in terms of the extent of the spread and the speed of contagion transmission. We also quantify, through the fraction of nodes acquiring contagion, di erences in the eff ects of the ND2 and PD2 mechanisms, which depend on network structure and other simulation inputs.« less
  7. As the complexity of our food systems increases, they also become susceptible to unanticipated natural and human-initiated events. Commodity trade networks are a critical component of our food systems in ensuring food availability. We develop a generic data-driven framework to construct realistic agricultural commodity trade networks. Our work is motivated by the need to study food flows in the context of biological invasions. These networks are derived by fusing gridded, administrative-level, and survey datasets on production, trade, and consumption. Further, they are periodic temporal networks reflecting seasonal variations in production and trade of the crop. We apply this approach tomore »create networks of tomato flow for two regions – Senegal and Nepal. Using statistical methods and network analysis, we gain insights into spatiotemporal dynamics of production and trade. Our results suggest that agricultural systems are increasingly vulnerable to attacks through trade of commodities due to their vicinity to regions of high demand and seasonal variations in production and flows.« less
  8. We consider the simultaneous propagation of two contagions over a social network. We assume a threshold model for the propagation of the two contagions and use the formal framework of discrete dynamical systems. In particular, we study an optimization problem where the goal is to minimize the total number of infected nodes subject to a budget constraint on the total number of nodes that can be vaccinated. While this problem has been considered in the literature for a single contagion, our work considers the simultaneous propagation of two contagions. Since the optimization problem is NP-hard, we develop a heuristic basedmore »on a generalization of the set cover problem. Using experiments on three real-world networks, we compare the performance of the heuristic with some baseline methods.« less
  9. We investigate questions related to the time evolution of discrete graph dynamical systems where each node has a state from {0,1}. The configuration of a system at any time instant is a Boolean vector that specifies the state of each node at that instant. We say that two configurations are similar if the Hamming distance between them is small. Also, a predecessor of a configuration B is a configuration A such that B can be reached in one step from A. We study problems related to the similarity of predecessor configurations from which two similar configurations can be reached inmore »one time step. We address these problems both analytically and experimentally. Our analytical results point out that the level of similarity between predecessors of two similar configurations depends on the local functions of the dynamical system. Our experimental results, which consider random graphs as well as small world networks, rely on the fact that the problem of finding predecessors can be reduced to the Boolean Satisfiability problem (SAT).« less
  10. Using a discrete dynamical system model for a networked social system, we consider the problem of learning a class of local interaction functions in such networks. Our focus is on learning local functions which are based on pairwise disjoint coalitions formed from the neighborhood of each node. Our work considers both active query and PAC learning models. We establish bounds on the number of queries needed to learn the local functions under both models. We also establish a complexity result regarding efficient consistent learners for such functions. Our experimental results on synthetic and real social networks demonstrate how the numbermore »of queries depends on the structure of the underlying network and number of coalitions.« less