COSC Seminar Series - Dr. Mario Ventresca

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Dr. Mario Ventresca

University of Toronto

THURSDAY, November 21, 2013

MCJ 328

2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

From Contact Networks to Public Policies: Who to target during a pandemic?


In this talk I will describe a mix of published and preliminary results aimed at devising a robust approach to automatically deriving public policies from contact networks. The immediate goal is to provide public policy makers additional information concerning the type of people they should aim to target via vaccination, quarantine or isolation measures. We focus on pandemic disease mitigation, but the approach can be applied to other domains, such as bioterrorism or counter-intelligence. The approach begins by constructing a representative contact network for the Greater Toronto Area (approx. 5.5 million individuals) from publicly available census, transportation, workplace and education-system information. Then, a number of approaches are described to ascertain the importance of each individual to the proper topological functioning of the network. The top ranked individuals' characteristics, as defined by their census information, is then used as input to decision tree classifiers. The resulting output is a set of high-level rules that identify potential types of individuals to target in order to mitigate disease spread. Experimental evidence to highlight the potential of the approach is also provided.

Dr. Mario Ventresca is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Medical Operations Research Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at The University of Toronto, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brock University. From 2009-2011 he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at The University of Cambridge, which commenced after completing his PhD in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo. He holds undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Computer Science. As of January 2014 Mario will be an Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering at Purdue University.