Portrait of Dhananjai "DJ" Rao with computer visualizations in the background.

Researcher develops a model to forecast the spread of the Zika virus

Dhananjai "DJ" Rao holds a model of a mosquito

The Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) recently featured the work of DJ Rao, an assistant professor in Miami’ Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering.

When life-threatening weather events loom, forecasters warn citizens days, even weeks, beforehand so they can take action. It seems to work: We clear supermarket shelves, board up windows and even evacuate to higher ground ahead of the impending tempest to avoid danger.

Blind to bias in its threat to human life is another force of nature – epidemics.

Unfortunately, we often do not know they are imminent until the disease has already infiltrated an area. Dhananjai Rao, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of computer science and software engineering at Miami University, is using machine learning and simulation through resources at the Ohio Supercomputer Center to apply the concepts of weather forecasting to epidemiology. He hopes this work will shift the paradigm for disease control from reactive to proactive.  Read the full story on the OSC website.

Written by  Audrey Carson, Ohio Supercomputer Center.

Photos by Jeff Sabo, Miami University Photo Services.

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