Covid-19 Risk assessment map
Clear and accessible information is critical to keeping our families and communities safe during the Coronavirus outbreak, particularly as ongoing changes to local lockdowns and the hope of effective vaccines have arrived. Our Brunel University London CEDPS Computer Science research team have collaborated with colleagues in the UK and internationally to develop the Flu And Coronavirus Simulator (FACS, https://facs.readthedocs.org), and now we want to make sure this specialist research can also be used by the general public to track local risks of Covid-19 with an online forecasting website. We need your help to make that happen!
We will make this new online risk map by combining historical data with forecasts from FACS, which predicts COVID-19 spread and show those risks on the interactive publicly accessible website. The risk map website will allow people to:
- see forecasts of COVID-19 infections over the next several months,
- identify potential hot spots across universities and other selected locations,
- help predict & prepare for future pandemics of flu and other coronaviruses,
- investigate how different lockdown measures or other assumptions may affect future spread,
- help give an idea of what could be expected,
- help people plan to keep themselves and their communities safe.
In response to the sudden and severe COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, we developed the Flu And Coronavirus Simulator (FACS) which is an agent-based modelling code to forecast the spread of COVID-19. FACS models the transmission of the virus at a local scale (e.g., city, borough or university), and is entirely unique in that it takes into account both individual buildings and the behaviour patterns of individuals. For instance, the code will deliver different results if people decide to shop entirely online, or if a single cafe is temporarily expanded in size.
We know FACS has very good forecasting potential, and it has been covered in several major newspapers such as the Sun and Metro UK. With voluntary effort and existing research funding we have been able to develop the code, but now we need your help to share it with everyone. Our forecasting dashboard website will let the public experience how the forecasts change with different vaccines, lockdown measures, or assumptions about the disease. Understanding the risks that different circumstances can present will help individuals make informed choices and hopefully, help control the spread of disease.
To make the forecasts, the code uses several data sources, including geospatial data from OpenStreetMap, epidemiological data, disease parameters, population dynamics and demography for a given region. Our project will also help researchers at improving the quality of the results by using and contributing to the Verified Exascale Computing for Multiscale Applications toolkit (VECMAtk), which helps make our simulations more robust and useful in the fight against COVID-19.
Who are we?
We are a group of researchers focusing on migration and COVID-19 modelling. Our fundraising team represented by Modelling and Simulation Group at Brunel University London and Verified Exascale Computing for Multiscale Applications (VECMA) Horizon 2020 Consortium. Our team consists of the following members:
Dr Derek Groen - Senior Lecturer in Modelling & Simulation at Brunel University London. Derek is lead developer of FACS and has several leadership roles in existing research projects, such as VECMA (technical manager) and HiDALGO (applications work package manager). Derek will lead this project.
Dr David Bell - Reader at Brunel University with a focus on Software Services. He has ongoing collaborations with a range of medical organisations including several NHS Trusts in North and West London. David will coordinate the medical collaborations and acquisition and curation of validation data.
Dr Imran Mahmood - Research Fellow in the Department of Computer Science at Brunel University London. Imran will support the visualization engine of the Risk Map platform, and help accelerate the construction of new simulations.
Dr Diana Suleimenova - Research Fellow in Multiscale Migration Prediction at Brunel University London. Diana will coordinate and establish the implementation of the Risk Map, with a focus on the front-end and validation aspects.
Professor Peter Coveney - Professor at University College London and coordinator of the VECMA Horizon 2020 project. Peter will advice on the technical and scientific solutions established in the project and will help promote its uptake among the wider public.
Dr Erwan Raffin - Collaborative Project Manager at Atos Bull and member of the Center for Excellence in Performance Programming (CEPP). Erwan will advice on the computational aspects in the project, and support efforts to make the project commercially viable.
Dr Hugh Martin - Managing Director at CBK Sci Con Limited and Senior Scientific Project Manager at University College London. Hugh will advice on the promotional aspects of the project, and support efforts to increase uptake and make the project commercially viable.
Where will the money go?
We will use the funds to create and support a public website which will contain an interactive risk assessment website visualising the spread of COVID-19 across UK universities. We will run the FACS simulations required for this dashboard using our currently available infrastructure, free of charge.
What will you spend the funding on if you hit your minimum?
We will establish the website as a proof-of-concept, and provide forecasts for Brunel University London as well as for at least two other universities or key locations. We will update the forecasts once a week for the first three months after website launch, and once a month after that. The website will allow users to explore a few different intervention scenarios (such as high or lower test and trace coverage).
Where will the money go if you hit your full target?
As above, but we will include two other universities, two boroughs in London and a selection of other areas following the preferences of the main donors. We will also offer users the ability to explore a wider range of intervention scenarios, such as requiring people to wear masks or moving classes online. Lastly we’ll also dedicate some effort to maintain and update the open software components needed to create robust simulations.
What will you do with extra funds if things really take off and you raise more than your target?
We will add even more regions and interventions, and will provide relevant supplementary information about our simulation assumptions and key research papers as an integration with the website interface. We will also undertake a campaign to make the platform directly suitable for consultancy purposes. And if our target is greatly exceeded, then we will consult the main donors to determine the best way to dedicate the resources.
How often will you give updates on progress when you're running your project or campaign?
We will give an update every week during the campaign. During the project itself we will provide an update every 2 weeks in the first two months, and monthly updates afterwards.
We are very grateful to everyone who donates to our project, and we defined our rewards such that we will provide you with extra insights for large donors, and even some direct input for very large donors.
Find us here
Join our LinkedIn group - https://www.linkedin.com/groups/9012015/
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