We will collect resources here produced by SDS members and others that provide a systems view on the COVID-19 pandemic. Please email email@example.com to suggest additions.
C19UDM is designed to simulate travel and employment in a medium-sized town under COVID 19 lockdown, and what can happen as lockdown is lifted. You can watch how conditions in the town change over time and make decisions about transport and other things to try to improve matters.
The model advances in steps of one week and will simulate up to three years.
The results are not to be treated as forecasts; you will find that a range of results can be obtained, depending on your choice of starting conditions and the decisions you make. Think of it as a way of rehearsing different lockdown scenarios and searching for the most effective ways of alleviating their worst impacts.
C19UDM is not a model of how the COVID virus spreads; it is not an epidemiological model. It takes the consequences of the virus, such as social distancing, as inputs and demonstrates their effects on some aspects of this fictional town.
C19UDM, based on Steer’s Urban Dynamic Model, was developed with funding from Innovate UK.
Google Repository of COVID resources.
This repository was created and is managed by Carl Smith, Oceania Chapter Rep. It originated to collect from modelers in the Asia Pacific region, but others can contribute as well. Contributors currently include Keith Linard, Kevin Xiao, isee Systems, Benjamin Chung, and Jack Homer. It includes links to relevant Zoom meeting recordings, publications, models for review and feedback, models, and meeting notes.
isee system’s COVID-19 Simulator
Trying to make sense of the conflicting information on COVID-19? Sponsor isee systems created a COVID-19 Simulator that examines current assumptions and policies in place to reduce its spread. This interactive tool allows you to explore the implications of disease’ uncertainties including distribution of severity levels, adjust contact rates, and mortality. You can then take a closer look at the mitigating policies to explore the effectiveness of quarantining and testing. We hope this simulation will help build an understanding of both how the disease spreads and why interventions don’t always work as we expect. Here is a work-in-progress webinar update on the use of the simulator during a Worcester Polytechnic Institute SD Club’s Collective Learning Meetings.
Member Jeroen Struben’s COVID-19 Simulator
Society member Jeroen Struben at EMYLON Business School is doing great work examining COVID-19 infection dynamics around the globe. Explore for yourself using his simulator published in forio. This user-friendly simulator enables users to explore the impact of government and citizen responses and how they alter the course of the pandemic outbreak. The purpose of this accessible simulator is to allow the end-user to examine when an outbreak is more likely to escalate into an epidemic and to explore how responsiveness to the virus alters the outbreak path.
Tom Fiddaman’s COVID-19 Video, Simulator, Modeling Tutorial, and Blog
Policy Council member Tom Fiddaman of Ventana Systems offers a video walkthrough of simple epidemic model for his community in Bozeman, MT facing a coronavirus outbreak. It can be modified to fit any community and shows the importance of an early, robust, multi-pronged approach to reducing infections. Because it’s simple, it can easily be adapted for other locations. You can also access the model to run simulations of your own and use their epidemic modeling tutorial to create your own simulator. You can also follow Tom’s Meta-SD Blog for new posts.
PEAS Center COVID Simulation
The Center for Policy Exploration, Analysis and Simulation (PEAS Center), has published a COVID19 simulation page. From March 24 onward, they will publish simulation studies related to COVID-19. Note that this resource is a work in progress. The PEAS Center is specialized in modelling complex issues and simulation under deep uncertainty. Review their first studies; WHY STRONG SOCIAL DISTANCING? and WHAT IF NEW SCIENTIST IS RIGHT? AND COULD THE RIVM BE RIGHT?
Research results on COVID-19 in Indonesia
Irman Firmansyah, PhD, Researcher at the System Dynamics Center in Indonesia, presents the results of a simulation projecting the peak of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia. Read the report here.
Video about modelling epidemics using Anylogic
Member Dénes Csala, PhD, has built seven epidemiological models of increasing complexity in order to illustrate how infectious diseases get transmitted over time. Among others, he tries to answer the questions of what is the scientific rationale behind a surgical mask or an all-out quarantine. This is a video commentary of a simulation modelling exercise using system dynamics.
Resources for Children
We offer these well developed resources for K-12 education. These include epidemic models. Please be mindful of your child’s (and your own) social-emotional health when using them.
The Creative Learning Exchange has an epidemic simulation for children from their Shape of Change series. They also offer Splash, a fun online simulation program for children, and many other free online curriculums for teachers and parents that offer an opportunity for children to learn Systems Thinking and System Dynamics Modeling. One fun one is The Soda Game.
The Waters Center for Systems Thinking also offers a number of resources for parents seeking enrichment for their children. One popular choice is the Thinking Tools Studio. They are also about to publish a series of short one-page Padlet lessons for for young children that introduce developmentally appropriate activities that promote thinking, executive functioning development and social emotional learning.
For older children and college students with too much time on their hands, we recommend Climate Interactive‘s Climate Leader which teaches fundamental principles of Systems Thinking as they apply to climate. Their Climate Simulator is used by members of Congress and their Climate Simulator Training Plan can turn your children into Ambassadors.
We also recommend this good graphical lesson on exponential growth without a model. You might also find this real time set of data with graphs over time overall and by country interesting to compare to the exponential curve.
MIT FULL STEAM Ahead is a collection of resources that MIT is putting together for teaching and learning online. These are meant as a rapid response to the need for online resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will curate existing resources for K-12, higher education, and workforce learners, as well as provide a weekly package of relevant materials for K-12 students and teachers. The week 1 topic is “Spread of Disease”.
The submission system for the 2021 System Dynamics Conference will open on January 27, 2021 and close on March 25, 2021. The 2021 conference will include a special COVID-19 thread. This thread will cover all aspects of the pandemic and its consequences, including disease dynamics, economic impacts, human behavior, business impacts, resource and security implications, social disruptions, and other related topics.
The seminar series included Top Takeaways from COVID-19. A panel disucssion moderated by Mohammad Jalali, which included panelists Hazhir Rahmandad, Navid Ghaffarzadegan, Jeroen Struben, and Jack Homer.
The 2020 public plenary titled “Societal Containment of COVID-19” was chaired by Peter Hovmand. The presented work includes:
Modeling the Transmission Dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 and the Effects of Intervention Timing on COVID-19 Incidence by Jeffrey Shaman
Simulation-based Estimation of the Early Spread of COVID-19 in Iran: Actual versus Confirmed Cases by Navid Ghaffarzadegan and Hazhir Rahmandad
Hybrid Modeling with System Dynamics to Contain COVID-19 by Nathaniel Osgood
This session was part of the Health Thread, sponsored by Homer Consulting.
China Chapter member conducted a series of studies and supported Wuhan to fight pneumonia battle
Dr. Yu-yang Cai and his team published the research paper of ‘Mining the Characteristics of COVID-19 Patients in China: Analysis of Social Media Posts’ in the JOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH. This paper analyzed the characteristics of suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients who asked for help on Sina Weibo (similar to ‘Twitter’ in China). This research showed that all those patients seeking help stayed in Wuhan and most were elderly and about 32% of them lived more than 3 kilometers away from the nearest hospital.
Dr. Yu-yang Cai also joined the clinical research team built by the hospitals affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine for supporting the fight against COVID-19 in Wuhan. He and his colleagues have already finished 8 research papers based on the Wuhan data and published these results as preprint in the main publishing platforms.
Dr. Yu-yang Cai is currently working for the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine (Top 1 Med School in China) as an associate professor. He is the deputy director of the System Dynamics Committee, Systems Engineering Society of China. He also had studied ‘System dynamics’ in the University of Bergen and WPI.
A team of simulation modelers, supported by disease experts, has created an easy-to-use model of COVID-19 outbreaks.
It can be ‘localised’ to any defined region, to answer basic questions:
- What is happening around here?
- How might the outbreak play out?
- How can the future be best-managed?
The developers want to ‘democratise’ COVID policy by putting this model in the hands of millions of citizens, especially young people, so that anyone can answer those questions. A short online course at covid-19-localisation-modelling.thinkific.com – designed by young people who actually used the model for their communities – explains basic epidemic principles and how to use the model. Please take a look and if you think it could be useful, please share it, tweet it, Facebook it.
The model (at sdl.re/COVIDmodel)…
- relies on published research evidence,
- has been matched to models used by Governments,
- has been calibrated to a wide range of localities – from cities like Jakarta and New York to smaller towns to city-slums and their surrounding regions.
- is totally transparent – every item is shown as time charts and every element can be seen and checked.
The developers are working with Foundations, NGOs, Healthcare Organisations, Governments and Commercial organisations to complement other pandemic-strategy efforts and understand issues relating to local areas that national models can’t address.
The course and model are free for personal use. For any commercial need, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The call for COVID-19 simulation transparency co-authored by the Society cited in a recent nature article about code checking of the Imperial College model
“…code is the substance of any computational study, and ought always to be released…Other scientists have also called for more transparency around the code underlying COVID-19 models in general.”
An update on the system dynamics of hoarding in the pandemic, featuring John Sterman, SDS Member and MIT Sloan professor
“Beyond the un-neighborliness of leaving none for the next guy, hoarding is counterproductive – and highly contagious, said John Sterman, professor of system dynamics and engineering systems at MIT Sloan School of Management. The compounding effect of our panic-buying can actually create the shortage we feared, turning our fear into a self-fulfilling prophesy. Sterman is lead author of the 2015 study, ‘I’m not hoarding, I’m just stocking up before the hoarders get here.’”
Weather Conditions and COVID-19 Transmission: Estimates and Projections.
A working paper by Ran Xu, Hazhir Rahmandad, Marichi Gupta, Catherine DiGennaro, Navid Ghaffarzadegan, Heresh Amini, Mohammad S. Jalali is featured in a Boston Globe article and The New York Times about the effect of summer heat and humidity on the cornavirus.
“The results provide evidence for the relationship between several weather variables and the spread of COVID-19, finding a negative association between temperature and humidity and transmission. … Summer may offer partial relief to some regions of the world. However, the estimated impact of summer weather on transmission risk is not large enough in most places to quench the epidemic, indicating that policymakers and the public should remain vigilant in their responses to the pandemic, rather than assuming that summer climate naturally prevents transmission.”
From Hazhir Rahmandad: “The paper is largely empirical using regressions with fixed effects and location specific trends to tease out the associations between weather and air pollutants with COVID-19 transmission. However, we use simple simulation models of epidemics (stochastic difference equations and agent-based models) to refine and validate our statistical method (that is all documented in a long online appendix).”
An essay by Dennis Meadows, co-author of the original Limits to Growth study and its updates, Limits to Growth and the COVID-19 epidemic
“Over the past century, there has been wholesale abandonment of resilient systems in favor of efficient systems – larger scale, less diversity, lower redundancy.
The profit motive has been a major force shaping America’s health care system. There has been a relentless effort reduce personnel levels, eliminate “unnecessary” stocks of supplies, and shift drug production overseas —all to reduce costs i.e., make the system more efficient.
Many have profited by optimizing the health system to be extremely efficient in its use of inputs. Now we all are paying the costs for the resultant loss of resilience. COVID-19 has shown how quickly interrupting some inputs, such as masks, can cause drastic declines in essential outputs, such as the quality of health care.”
Society sponsor Whole Systems Partnership modelling the COVID epidemic for the health and care system.
Whole Systems Partnership has been working with clients to develop a simulation model based on the national assumptions but tailored to local population characteristics. Through careful calibration with actual data in nine ICPs we are confident that the model below provides realistic outputs for a typical population catchment of 500,000. We are working on a version that will enable the end user to select whether the spread of the epidemic was early, mid or late and in which deprivation quintile their local demographic falls, as we know that both these factors are relevant to understanding local needs. You can download a copy of the handbook from the home page of the model. This document outlines the model structure and assumptions and describes how you might use it to support local planning. For further information, or for a conversation about calibrating the model to your local area please contact email@example.com.
A systems approach to preventing and responding to COVID-19.
“A reinforcing feedback loop is responsible for causing exponential growth in the number of infected people (in red). However, the risk of transmission (often expressed as the basic reproduction number, R0) is seen to be a factor of the context, not simply a characteristic of the virus, resulting from a long chain of dynamic interactions involving components otherwise seen as distant or disconnected, such as the public’s trust in authorities and stigma.” Click here to read this article
The December 2019 New Corona Virus (SARS-CoV-2) Outbreak: A Behavioral Infectious Disease Policy Model.
Society Member Jeroen Struben (Associate Professor of Strategy & Organisation and Research Fellow, Emlyon Artificial Intelligence in Management (AIM) Institute) has written a new article on the impact of distinct policy interventions to the ongoing December 2019 coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed. It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice.
Effectiveness of Testing, Tracing, Social Distancing and Hygiene in Tackling Covid-19 in India: A System Dynamics Model.
Members Jayendran Venkateswaran and Om Damani present a System Dynamics (SD) model of the Covid-19 pandemic spread in India. The detailed age-structured compartment-based model endogenously captures various disease transmission pathways, expanding significantly from the standard SEIR model. The model is customized for India by using the appropriate population pyramid, contact rate matrices, external arrivals (as per actual data), and a few other calibrated fractions based on the reported cases of Covid-19 in India. Review the full paper here
From Pandemic to Apocalypse.
The study is is an urgent warning on the Earth Day 2020 to prevent the blast of the COVID-19 pandemic to chaotic apocalypse. It is shown that the pandemic equations become unstable at reproduction numbers above 3.5, which could reflect in a chaotic catastrophe.
The nexus impacts of the Covid-19: A qualitative perspective.
This paper gives readers simplified holistic insights into understanding the dynamic spread of the COVID-19.
Covid-19 can help us think differently about exponential growth.
As the countless graphs of Covid-19 cases have shown us, what comes up must invariably come down. Society Member Justin Connolly has written an article for a New Zealand website that asks if we need to think that way about the economy. Justin is the director of Deliberate, an Auckland-based specialist consultancy.
SD model provides an introduction to some of the key relationships and dynamics associated with a pandemic.
This model explores the dynamics of a novel infection as it progresses through a population. It shows how the nature of an infection governs the speed and scale of a pandemic. Its purpose is to aid understanding of how different factors influence a pandemic and how decisions about social distancing may affect the burden on a healthcare system.
For a lively ongoing debate about Coronavirus: Join the System Dynamics Society Discussion Group
Chahine, T. (2021). How Systems Thinking Can Help Stop Neglected Tropical Diseases. Yale Insights. https://insights.som.yale.edu/insights/how-systems-thinking-can-help-stop-neglected-tropical-diseases
Kontogiannis, T. A qualitative model of patterns of resilience and vulnerability in responding to a pandemic outbreak with system dynamics. Safety Science, 134, 105077. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0925753520304744?via%3Dihub
Sawin, E. (2020). Covid-19 Sucks. But It Could Teach Us How to Avoid the Worst Consequences of Climate Change. Climate Interactive. https://www.climateinteractive.org/blog/covid-19-sucks-but-it-could-teach-us-how-to-avoid-the-worst-consequences-of-climate-change
Toilet Paper, Hoarding, and the Bullwhip Effect
Read this article in the Dallas Morning News by member and former President, Ed Anderson (University of Texas at Austin).
What COVID-19 can teach us about Climate Change
Dr. Elizabeth Sawin of Climate Interactive with “Four things I think we are learning from COVID-19 that we’d be wise to remember when it comes to climate change.”
Simulation-based Estimation of the Spread of COVID-19 in Iran
Pre-Print Version Simulation-based Estimation of the Spread of COVID-19 in Iran by Navid Ghaffarzadegan1 & Hazhir Rahmandad
Over 24,000 coronavirus research papers are now available in one place
The Allen Institute for AI, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), Microsoft, and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health released the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset of scholarly literature about COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and the Coronavirus group. This CORD-19 resource is available on the Allen Institute’s SemanticScholar.org website and will be continually updated.
On March 13, Professor John Sterman of the MIT Sloan School of Management penned a plea for Collective Leadership for the Pandemic.
Lessons on Hoarding
Bloomberg News feature “How the Beer Game Helps Retailers Solve Toilet Paper Crisis”.
In 2015, members Gokhan Dogan and John Sterman published a system dynamics analysis of hoarding and phantom ordering behavior in an experimental beer game. The paper, “I’m not hoarding, I’m just stocking up before the hoarders get here”, appeared in the Journal of Operations Management. The headlines about hoarding and shortages of toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and food this week have made this work highly topical. Interestingly, the JOM agrees, and has made it open access on their website.
Tim Clancy’s Blog: The InfoMullet
Timothy Clancy of Worcester Polytech Institute (WPI) runs The InfoMullet which began coverage of novel viruses in early January and shifted to COVID-19 in late January. This coverage has broadened from education and awareness to equipping activists and advocates with insights and resources to help spur government action ranging from local firefighter teams in Iowa to the 2nd largest newspaper in Bangladesh trying to move the government to begin testing.
Examples of past Facebook discussion sessions and AMAs can be found on the InfoMullet YouTube Playlist.
A recent four-part series covers the failure to contain COVID-19 and flatten the curve in the US; a 3-month forecast on the economic impact of COVID-19; a forecast on how crime and violence might alter in the wake of COVID-19; and finally how we prepare for recovery and restoration in the wake of the first wave.
This is an evolving list of resources for members of the society that will continually be updated. Much of the work featured in this page has not been subjected to peer review, which means that they are work-in-progress and may be subject to errors and omissions. We share this work in the spirit of openness and collaboration and learning and encourage you to review it with a mind open to growth and a willingness to offer constructive feedback to improve our collective knowledge.