'Agent-based modelling in public health: from playground to planet' with Professor Joshua M. Epstein

07 February 2024

Portrait of Professor Joshua M. Epstein

with Professor Joshua M. Epstein
Professor of Epidemiology and Affiliated Faculty, New York University

Joshua M. Epstein is Professor of Epidemiology and Affiliated Faculty at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and the Department of Politics. He is founding Director of the NYU Agent-Based Modeling Laboratory and External Faculty Fellow at ...

Agent-Based Models (ABMS) are artificial societies of individual software people whose interactions generate large-scale social patterns—of violence, of inequality, and of disease.

Epstein is a recognised pioneer in this method. In the sphere of Public Health, he has used ABMs to model pandemics from the 1918 Spanish Flu, to Bioterror Smallpox, to Ebola, to COVID-19. With stunning animations, he demonstrates his modelling on scales ranging from a children’s school playground to the 6.5 billon agent planetary-scale model funded by the US National Institutes of Health. Throughout, he emphasizes the role of human behaviour in shaping epidemic dynamics, including the problematic multiple waves observed in historical pandemics and most recently, in COVID-19.

This was a joint event with INET Oxford