Inference, Prediction, and Control of Networked Epidemics

Research paper by Nicholas J. Watkins, Cameron Nowzari, George J. Pappas

Indexed on: 21 Mar '17Published on: 21 Mar '17Published in: arXiv - Mathematics - Optimization and Control


We develop a feedback control method for networked epidemic spreading processes. In contrast to most prior works which consider mean field, open-loop control schemes, the present work develops a novel framework for feedback control of epidemic processes which leverages incomplete observations of the stochastic epidemic process in order to control the exact dynamics of the epidemic outbreak. We develop an observation model for the epidemic process, and demonstrate that if the set of observed nodes is sufficiently well structured, then the random variables which denote the process' infections are conditionally independent given the observations. We then leverage the attained conditional independence property to construct tractable mechanisms for the inference and prediction of the process state, avoiding the need to use mean field approximations or combinatorial representations. We conclude by formulating a one-step lookahead controller for the discrete-time Susceptible-Infected-Susceptible (SIS) epidemic process which leverages the developed Bayesian inference and prediction mechanisms, and causes the epidemic to die out at a chosen rate.