The collaborative project I'm workin on at the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice will use computer simulations to explore the best practice for emergency public health alerts and advisories. What kind of alerts and advisories should we send, who should we send them to, and how should we send them? The type of computer simulations we'll use are called agent-based models, sometimes called individual based models. We simulate the behavior of individual agents by coding their actions and interactions. 

Today I learned about Stormview, which takes a different approach to modeling the diffusion and actionability of information during emergencies. They use real, live individuals in a web-based sort of game. They track the individuals' decisions and compare those decisions across different communication methods. For example, do people prepare for a storm more often when the are shown the most likely path of a hurricane, or just uncertainty cones, and does that only apply to people who live near the most likely path?

Stormview reminds me of a lunch-time discussion session we had at the Northwest Center last week, led by Carl Osaki. Osaki is a veteran leader of what public health practitioners call table top exercises. There are basically role playing exercises where public health officials are lead through a series of emergency narratives, and have to discuss the limitations of existing protocols to deal with such emergencies. Osaki introduced the concept of "WIIFM" (What's In It For Me), which hooks participants into the narrative. I was thinking about how and if dynamic simulation software could be integrated into these table top exercises.


07/10/2013 06:04

the article (which I hope she will expand in a subsequent post that I would totally read, hint hint!).

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