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AARMS COVID-19 Seminar: Ahmed Saif (Dalhousie)

April 21, 2021 @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am

A Simulation-Optimization Framework for Optimizing Response Strategies to Epidemics

Epidemics require dynamic response strategies that encompass a multitude of policy alternatives and that balance health, economic and societal considerations. We propose a simulation-optimization framework to aid policymakers select closure, protection and travel policies to minimize the total number of infections under a limited budget. The proposed framework combines a modified, age-stratified SEIR compartmental model to evaluate the health impact of response strategies and a Genetic Algorithm to effectively search for better strategies. We implemented our framework on a real case study in Nova Scotia to devise optimized response strategies to COVID-19 under different budget scenarios and found a clear trade-off between health and economic considerations. Closure policies seem to be the most sensitive to budget restrictions, followed by travel policies. On the other hand, results suggest that practicing social distancing and wearing masks are necessary under all scenarios. The framework is generic and can be extended to encompass vaccination policies and to use different epidemiological models and optimization methods.

Ahmed Saif, Ph.D., P.Eng., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering at Dalhousie University. He received a Ph.D. in Management Sciences from the University of Waterloo, an M.Sc. in Engineering Systems and Management from Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an MBA from New York Institute of Technology and a B.Sc. in Production Engineering from Alexandria University. Prior to joining Dalhousie University, he spent a year as a Postdoctoral Fellow in HEC Montréal. He also has several years of experience in engineering and consulting companies in Canada and abroad. Dr. Saif’s research focuses on large-scale optimization, decision making under uncertainty and data analytics methods and their applications in hybrid renewable energy systems and sustainable supply chain problems. His research has been funded by various agencies including NSERC and MITACS, and has been published in high-impact journals, including INFORMS Journal on Computing, Computer & Operations Research

This is a virtual zoom seminar.  If you would like to attend, please email the organizers for connection details.  All times are given in the Atlantic timezone.


April 21, 2021
10:30 am - 11:30 am
Event Category:


Zoom seminar