Algorithms & Friends Seminar presents "A New Approach for Fighting Infectious Disease, Combining Game Theory and Network Theory"

A New Approach for Fighting Infectious Disease, Combining Game Theory and Network Theory
Monday, February 8, 2021 - 12:00pm
Registration required
Prof Po-Shen Loh (Carnegie Mellon University)
Abstract / Description: 

There is a categorically new way to fight infectious disease, which could have a significant impact on the COVID pandemic now. Its origins come from game theory and computer science. It works against every COVID variant, and would play a key role in mopping up vaccine-resistant infections to block COVID's evolution. It's an app which is fundamentally different from every other app (and which resolves deep flaws in "contact tracing apps"). Functionally, it gives you an anonymous radar that tells you how "far" away COVID has just struck. "Far" is measured by counting physical relationships (, The simple idea flips the incentives. Previous approaches were about controlling you, preemptively removing you from society if you were suspected of being infected. This new tool lets you see incoming disease to defend yourself just in time. This uniquely aligns incentives so that even if everyone in a democratic society does what is best for themselves, they end up doing what is best for the whole.

Bio: Po-Shen Loh is a math professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and the national coach of the USA International Mathematical Olympiad team. He also dabbles in social entrepreneurship, previously founding the free math and science education platform which sees 500,000 visitors each month, and he has featured in or co-created videos totaling 10 million YouTube views. Upon the outbreak of COVID, he turned his mathematical attention to create NOVID, the first app to introduce the fundamentally different "radar" paradigm for pandemic contr