3D Visualization and Simulation of Infectious Disease Spread
This project was designed to look at how large detailed simulations conducted to support federal policy and preparedness could be better communicated and quality checked through the use of Virtual Reality. The goal was to take the underlying population data which is synthesized from myriad datasets and the results of our simulations and create a compelling visualization that allows the dynamics of the simulation to be appreciated in both its detail and scale, while allowing the user to validate the verify the behavior of the simulation embedded in this data. The test case was originally intended to be infectious disease, however, we pivoted to a catastrophic disaster due to a pressing need for the quality assurance part of the project for a follow-on study. Specifically, this disaster was an improvised nuclear attack in downtown Washington DC. More details of this study are reported in the literature (1,2) , in brief we model the behavior of over 700K individual agents in the affected area. They are imbued with full agency, choosing where to go, what to do, and when to do it, based on local information about their health, family status, and others around them. They communicate and move around the DC area while being impacted the condition of their surroundings and are exposed to radioactive fallout. The resulting interface allows the user to see the health state and movement patterns of the individuals and provide a very useful means to verify and appreciate the complexity of this simulation.