University of Canterbury (UC) Mathematicians Associate Professor Alex James and Professor Michael Plank, and UC BSc Hons graduate Nic Steyn are part of a research team that has been working on building SEIR-type models for Covid-19 for several weeks; one of several groups providing statistical modelling of Covid-19 for the government.

In a recent RNZ article, Associate Professor James explains:

The mathematical modelling of a disease such as coronavirus is not about precise predictions.

“We’re not always trying to predict exact numbers,” says Alex. “We’re often thinking ‘in two weeks‘ time is it going to be going up? Is it still going to be going up? Is it going to be going down?’ It’s more general questions like that rather than what will the number exactly be.”

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Alex says that she thinks mathematical modelling is both an art and a science.

“The art is to think this is complicated, there are a million different things going on here – but what are the most important ones? Can I boil this down to just two or three ideas and capture a lot of that complexity in just a small number of features.”

> Continue reading the full article here
> For more information about the work of the Te Pūnaha Matatini research team click here
> For more more about COVID-19 click here

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