An Agent-Based Approach to Immune Modelling

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Abstract

This study focuses on trying to understand why the range of experience with respect to HIV infection is so diverse, especially as regards to the latency period. The challenge is to determine what assumptions can be made about the nature of the experience of antigenic invasion and diversity that can be modelled, tested and argued plausibly. To investigate this, an agent-based approach is used to extract high-level behaviour which cannot be described analytically from the set of interaction rules at the cellular level. A prototype model encompasses local variation in baseline properties contributing to the individual disease experience and is included in a network which mimics the chain of lymphatic nodes. Dealing with massively multi-agent systems requires major computational efforts. However, parallelisation methods are a natural consequence and advantage of the multi-agent approach. These are implemented using the MPI library.