This is the first day of the Summer School on “Dynamics, Data, and COVID-19.” The Summer School is organized by the American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) in San Jose, California, and the Mathematics and Climate Research Network (MCRN), with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Summer School is a virtual event, which will last six weeks. There are more than 60 participants, all interactions will take place on the meeting platform Sococo.
What is the Summer School about?
The topic of the Summer School is COVID-19 and the mathematical modeling and analysis of the spread of infectious diseases. Data collection and data assimilation (the integration of data into the models) are integral parts of the effort.
Who are the participants?
Participants are 5 undergraduates, 17 students in transition between undergraduate and graduate, and 19 graduates, with 5 mentors, 10 leaders and 2 assistants. The 41 students (US citizens or permanent residents) were selected from among more than 500 applicants. Leaders are faculty members at US universities, many specializing in some aspect of dynamical systems theory. Participants are from four time zones spanning the continental US, from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
What did we do today?
At 11:00 am (all times are EDT), Chris Jones welcomed all participants. Chris explained the goals of the Summer School, he gave a brief summary of how it was put together, and he demonstrated some of the features of Sococo, Zoom and some other platforms that we will be using during the coming six weeks.
In Sococo, we all have an “office,” and after brief introductions we had an opportunity to get to know our neighbors during a get-acquainted session. This was also an opportunity to learn the intricacies of moving from one place to another in the virtual office environment.
At 12:15, everyone gathered in the All-Hands room to watch a movie “Simulating an Epidemic” through Watch2Gether. The movie showed the results of numerical simulations using SIR and agent-based models, demonstrating the dynamics of an evolving epidemic under various behavioral and intervention strategies.
The afternoon session began with a data hunt. The participants were divided into 14 groups, each group was asked to choose a region (country, county, or municipality), find statistics on COVID-19 for that region and assess their reliability. After a 15-minute Tai-Chi session, the groups reported back at an all-hands meeting. The regions chosen included countries (France, Sweden, Russia), states (Texas, Florida, Maine, North Carolina), counties (Montgomery County, MD; Hennepin County, MN; Washington, DC), and regions (Midwest, through aggregator websites).
The second part of the afternoon was devoted to a series of 13 articles on COVID-19, which had appeared in the May and June issue of SIAM News (the newsjournal of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, SIAM). Also included were the drafts of two articles, which are to appear in the July/August issue of SIAM News. As part of tonight’s homework assignment, the participants were asked to choose an article, read it, and comment on it tomorrow morning.
The day ended at 6 pm with a virtual reception.