Associate Professor of Computer Science Ashok Srinivasan has been tapped to lead a research team with the goal of finding new ways to decrease the risk of Ebola being spread through air travel. The team is comprised of Professor Srinivasan and researchers from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and Arizona State University. The research is imperative for limiting the amount of air travel passengers exposed to the disease via unknown persons infected on the plane. Funding for the project comes via the National Science Foundation and its Rapid Response Research Grant fund dedicated to facilitating researchers finding solutions for the disease.

“Predicting exact human response to policy decisions is difficult. Rather, we aim to identify vulnerabilities in different policy options given inherent uncertainties,” Dr.┬áSrinivasan said. “And we need to determine if some of these vulnerabilities would lead to disastrous consequences, such as causing an epidemic in the US.”

Srinivasan is a supercomputing whiz: his knowledge is needed for the simulations to be completed in a timely matter. Srinivasan’s expertise on this project stems from a new research direction he spearheaded with his Fulbright grant on “Supercomputing for policy decisions.” The software and modeling infrastructure this team develops could be applied to other contagious disease scenarios as well. He hopes that they will be ready with a solution when the next outbreak threatens human well-being.

Congratulations to Dr. Srinivasan for once again proving computing knowledge is applicable to the many real-world problems in our everyday lives.