Having my older son work through Christopher Wolfram’s agent based virus modeling program

A few months ago I saw an amazing program from Christopher Wolfram showing how agent based modeling works for modeling the spread of a virus:

https://www.wolframcloud.com/obj/covid-19/Published/Agent-Based-Networks-Models-for-COVID-19.nb

We did a project with Wolfram’s idea back in May:

https://mikesmathpage.wordpress.com/2020/05/16/sharing-christopher-wolframs-amazing-agent-based-virus-model-with-kids/

Since the boys have been learning more about programming in Mathematica this summer, I thought it would be fun to review Wolfram’s program again. My older son spent the week looking through the notebook. Tonight we talked about some of the things he thought were interesting.

The first thing that caught his eye was how the average number of interactions per time step affects the spread:

The second thing that caught his attention was how Wolfram was able to model how the virus spread across different kinds of graph networks:



Finally, he thought the “network of networks” model was really interesting and Wolfram’s graph of how the number of connections between the individual networks changed how the infection spread, in particular, caught his eye.



I think that Wolfram’s work here is one of the best examples I’ve seen that makes virus modeling accessible to students. I also really love that there are many different areas to explore further in Wolfram’s work. Definitely interesting for my son to play around with this program a bit more.

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