The SpatioTemporal Epidemiological Modeler
Dr. James H. Kaufman
IBM Almaden Research Center
October 20, 2010
Med Ed 300 Auditorium
The rise of global economies in the 21st century, the rapid national and international movement of people, and the increased reliance of developed countries on global trade all greatly increase the potential and possible magnitude of a pandemic. Global epidemics may result from global climate change, vector-borne diseases, food-borne illness, new naturally occurring pathogens, or bio-terrorist attacks. What can public health officials and scientists possibly do to protect populations from emerging disease or to implement better response measures?
While the speed of modern transportation amplifies the threat, the near real-time capability of modern information technology (I/T) can provide opportunities for great predictive capability and proactive containment. In one example, application of state-of-the-art information technology to public health, IBM Research recently contributed (and now supports) an open-source Java-based application development framework for building new models of infectious disease. The SpatioTemporal Epidemiological Modeler (STEM) is available through the Eclipse Foundation (www.eclipse.org/STEM). The Eclipse framework provides a modern "plug and play" software architecture that offers many advantages for software development. STEM uses the Eclipse framework by representing the world as "a graph." STEM offers basic toolsets for developing sophisticated simulations of disease spread. Data sets describing the geography, transportation systems, and population for the 244 countries and dependent areas, disease modeling mathematics, model comparison and validation tools. As an Eclipse application, STEM is also designed to support collaborative community efforts to rapidly develop new models of infectious disease.
In this talk we will discuss how public health can leverage STEM along with other open-source standards based tools to enable interoperable clinical health records. The world of public health, like the world of clinical care, requires its own "affinity domain." An affinity domain defines a group of organizations that work together and use a common set of policies and centralized services in pursuit of a shared mission. The need is global as evidenced by the recent H1N1 pandemic. IBM Research is working with organizations like the Middle Eastern Consortium on Infectious Disease Surveillance (MECIDS) and the Mexico City (GDF) Ministry of Health to develop and test standards-based systems to support public health disease reporting. Accurate public health data is critical to the development of new models for emerging infectious disease. Recent models of H1N1 and seasonal influenza will be discussed.
James H. Kaufman is manager of the Public Health Research project in the Department of Computer Science at the IBM Almaden Research Center. He received his B.A. in Physics from Cornell University and his Ph.D. in Physics from U.C.S.B. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a Distinguished Scientist of the ACM. During his career at IBM Research Dr. Kaufman has made contributions to several fields ranging from simulation science to magnetic device technology. His scientific contributions include work on pattern formation, conducting polymers, diamond like carbon, superconductivity, experimental studies of the Moon Illusion, and contributions to distributed computing, privacy protection, and grid middleware. His current research is focused on Public Health, Electronic Health Records, and epidemiological modeling. He is one of the creators of and contributors to the Spatiotemporal Epidemiological Modeler. His group, in collaboration with groups at IBM's Watson and Haifa Labs, is currently working with the Eclipse foundation to make technology for interoperability in healthcare and public health available as open source.