Efficient evaluation of influenza mitigation strategies using preventive bandits
Host Publication: AAMAS 2017: Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems
Authors: P. Libin, T. Verstraeten, K. Theys, D. Roijers, P. Vrancx and A. Nowé
Publication Year: 2017
Pandemic influenza has the epidemiological potential to kill millions of people. While different preventive measures exist, it remains challenging to implement them in an effective and efficient way. To improve preventive strategies, it is necessary to thoroughly understand their impact on the complex dynamics of influenza epidemics. To this end, epidemiological models provide an essential tool to evaluate such strategies in silico.Epidemiological models are frequently used to assist the decision making concerning the mitigation of ongoing epidemics. Therefore, rapidly identifying the most promising preventive strategies is crucial to adequately inform public health officials.To this end, we formulate the evaluation of prevention strategies as a multi-armed bandit problem. The utility of this novel evaluation method is validated through experiments in the context of an individual-based influenza model.We demonstrate that it is possible to identify the optimal strategy using only a limited number of model evaluations, even if there is a large number of preventive strategies to consider.