Published: 17th May 2020
IIIT-H professor's Viral Simulator will tell you the effects of travelling during COVID-19. Here's how
Through this Viral Simulator, developed by Vikram Pudi, you can predict the consequences of moving around in your area and beyond
Do you worry about how much faster and further COVID-19 can spread if the travel restrictions are completely relaxed? I know I do. Professor Vikram Pudi gives us a glimpse into what would be its consequences through his Machine Learning-enabled Viral Simulator. This professor — working at the Data Sciences and Analytics Centre at the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIIT-H) — wanted to actually develop a game for his son right after the lockdown was announced but had to settle for a simulator due to certain restrictions placed on Android apps by Google. "The idea was to show the immediate effect of moving around — if you do this, this is how it will affect the situation," says Prof Pudi.
Once you change the parameters, you can press the update icon to see the consequence. And if you want to restart, just click on reset
The website has various adjustable parameters like transmit probability, transmit distance, travel frequency, hover distance and so on. By adjusting these, one can see the kind of spread the virus is capable of worldwide. "The simulator proves that staying at home and not travelling will have a big impact on curbing the spread of the virus," says the professor, who considers hover distance (moving within the neighbourhood) an important parameter. This is because the professor observes that long-distance travel, like going in a car where there is no contact needed, has a smaller role to play in transmitting the disease than short-distance travel, like walking around the neighborhood, where there are chances of others moving around you. "People can see for themselves the impact of moving around too much in the neighbourhood. They can see clearly that they have a huge role to play in stopping the spread of the disease," says West Godavari-born professor who was brought up in Visakhapatnam.
Screenshot from the simulator | (Pic: Express)
The best aspect about this simulator is that it runs on the browser and that makes it scalable to any number of people. "We had made sure that it is available on slightly older Android smartphones as well and is multilingual," informs Prof Pudi who developed the portal in a week. Since the simulation doesn't involve any real-time numbers, he is mulling over the prospect of working on those next.
Other parameters on the simulator:
- Simulation speed
- Population site
- Death probability
The professor has been teaching at IIIT-H for over 14 years
For more on it, check out faculty.iiit.ac.in/~vikram/ViralSpread