Researchers from Virginia Tech are developing a computer simulation that matches the movements of all 300 million people in towns across the US. The team hopes that the model will help them understand the spread of contagious diseases, fads, and traffic flows.
The software, called EpiSimdemics, can provide an accurate simulation of the demographic attributes of groups composed of 1500 people or more. Based on the data, the software generates individuals to populate real US cities, giving them real street addresses and real jobs or schools within a reasonable distance from their address. Individuals are also matched to local grocery stores and shopping centers, which are identified through a database from Navteq, a digital mapping company.