Liverpool-based CGA Simulation’s won a Government competition (Innovate UK), set up to support the design of technologies that can help communities get back to normal after Covid 19.  

CGA is mathematically modelling how Covid19 spreads in local communities using something called ‘Agent Based Modelling’ (ABM), which focuses on how the virus is transmitted from person to person, in a small town (based on Southport) as people go about their daily business.

You can see the simulation here:

The team designed a virtual ‘digital twin’ copy of the town, in which to model community spread of Covid 19, based on simulated interactions between humans, their vehicles and frequently visited buildings/ focal points. This town hub will be used to analyse people’s interactions and likelihood of transmitting the disease as they travel between school, the hairdressers, a bar or church.    

The modelling tool the team uses (ABM) differs to that being used by most academic epidemiology researchers, as it assumes each ‘thing’ being modelled has its own ‘agency’, or freewill, to interact independently with the world around it. Other technologies assume the things (vehicles, people) being modelled operate with a hive mind.  Jon Wetherall, Managing Director of CGA Simulation, and simulation modelling expert, explains: “Our technology acknowledges that each person in a community has a different commute to work, school or the gym, different friends and hobbies. Each ‘person’ we model in our digital world makes independent decisions about where they go and what their daily activities are, giving a more realistic view of how people’s movements around a town or a city can impact on disease spread.”  He added: “Modelling that gives us more detailed insights into human/viral interactions  would help create ‘combination interventions’. We can model the risks associated with opening up different parts of society: cinemas + school + sports facility, to create mix and match interventions. We would open up and lockdown sections of society, activities or spaces at different times. We can also model risks associated with different numbers of friends and family meeting in groups, inside or outside at any one time, to find out what the upper limit of safer is.”  The CGA team creates ‘living towns’ like Sim City, using real geography via mapping data. ‘Agents’, the people or cars in the town, commute to work, go for lunch, or to play football, capturing more complex ‘real world’ interactions.

The algorithms used by CGA’s technology ‘feed’ off the detailed information we now have about how Covid19 spreads, when and where. This means it’s used to help identify where local lockdowns would be most useful. The technology can also be used to model the role of ‘super spreaders’ on viral transmission. 

 CGA is interested in speaking to and working with any teams that are researching Covid19 and it’s spread and working to minimise local transmission in neighbourhoods, businesses or leisure. To get in touch contact: Jon Wetherall, 07788757438 or Jaine Pickering, 07950402923. 

Post expires at 5:43pm on Wednesday March 10th, 2021