Unifying Themes in Complex Systems

pp 81-88

A Model of Biological Attacks on a Realistic Population

  • Kathleen M. CarleyAffiliated withCarnegie Mellon University
  • , Douglas FridsmaAffiliated withUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical Center
  • , Elizabeth CasmanAffiliated withCarnegie Mellon University
  • , Neal AltmanAffiliated withCarnegie Mellon University
  • , Li-Chiou ChenAffiliated withCarnegie Mellon University
  • , Boris KaminskyAffiliated withPittsburgh Supercomputing Center
  • , Demian NaveAffiliated withPittsburgh Supercomputing Center
  • , Alex YahjaAffiliated withCarnegie Mellon University

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The capability to assess the impacts of large-scale biological attacks and the efficacy of containment policies is critical and requires knowledge-intensive reasoning about social response and disease transmission within a complex social system. There is a close linkage among social networks, transportation networks, disease spread, and early detection. Spatial dimensions related to public gathering places such as hospitals, nursing homes, and restaurants, can play a major role in epidemics [Klovdahl et. al. 2001]. Like natural epidemics, bioterrorist attacks unfold within spatially defined, complex social systems, and the societal and networked response can have profound effects on their outcome. This paper focuses on bioterrorist attacks, but the model has been applied to emergent and familiar diseases as well.