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Scientists Discuss Different Approaches to Modeling COVID-19 Spread in New Podcast Episode

Scientists Discuss Different Approaches to Modeling COVID-19 Spread in New Podcast Episode

By Reeve Hamilton

November 18, 2020

The latest episode of Why Not Change the World? The RPI Podcast features conversations with two scientists whose work modeling the spread of COVID-19 is helping to inform and guide decision-makers in education, health care, government, and other industries.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Computer Science Professor Malik Magdon-Ismail discusses his work developing COVID Back-to-School, a free online app maintained by the Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications that school and university administrators can use to form and adapt their strategies for managing COVID-19 on campuses. It was inspired by his work building COVID War Room, another publicly available app that helps leaders of smaller cities and counties understand how COVID-19 would spread in their less densely populated areas.

The podcast also explores how a COVID-19 transmission model inspired by gas-phase chemistry is helping the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention forecast COVID-19-related deaths across the country. Yunfeng Shi, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at Rensselaer, talks about his collaboration with Jeff Ban, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Washington, to build the model using fatality data collected by Johns Hopkins University and mobility data collected by Google to predict disease spread based on how much a population is moving within its community.

Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, SoundCloud, or TuneIn.


Reeve Hamilton
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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,600 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.