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Pandemics Research Featured on The Atlantic

Dirk Brockmann unveils new research about tracking the spread of disease

New research about the spread of pandemics by Dirk Brockmann, associate professor of engineering sciences and applied mathematics at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, has been featured by The Atlantic.

Dirk Brockmann

After nearly a decade of research, Brockmann has developed new computer models capable of pinpointing the source of disease outbreaks, as well as simulating the spread of pandemics worldwide. He announced his findings at the recent American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston, Mass.  

Brockmann’s models take into account the rise of air travel and an increased connectedness among people, which dramatically impacts how diseases spread. While physical distance was the basis of traditional disease mapping, Brockmann focuses on temporal distance, or the time it takes to travel between two locations.

"If you look at the outbreak and how it spreads globally in this new kind of representation, everything becomes very simple," he says. Once again, the pattern resembles the concentric ripples of that rock on water that characterized epidemics centuries ago. "Nowadays, it doesn’t look much different," Brockmann adds. "You just have to look at the whole process from the right angle."

Read the story at The Atlantic.