Empirical tests of infectious disease models - Raphaël Alexander Scholl
Raphael Scholl

November 30, 2023, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
The Center for Philosophy of Science and the History of Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh

1117 Cathedral of Learning - 11th Floor
University of Pittsburgh, 4200 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh 15260
United States

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The Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh invites you to join us for our upcoming lecture. The lecture will be live streamed on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrRp47ZMXD7NXO3a9Gyh2sg.  

LTT: Raphaël Alexander Scholl

November 30 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm EST

Title: Empirical tests of infectious disease models


Epidemiologists have been developing mathematical and computational models to predict the course of epidemics since at least the 1920s. In this talk I will consider how these models were tested empirically, especially in the decades leading up to the Covid-19 pandemic. Tests relied either on data from actual epidemics (such as influenza or ebola) or on synthetic data that were themselves generated by infectious disease models. The questions under investigation included whether the models were capable of predicting the rate at which new cases would occur, the time and case numbers at which the epidemic would peak, and the overall duration of the epidemic. I will focus on two methodological issues raised by such empirical tests of infectious disease models. First, which aspects of infectious disease dynamics were these models intended to represent? Second, what sort of confirmation did the models receive from tests of (mere) predictive accuracy? I will situate my results within an adequacy-for-purpose view of model evaluation.

This talk will also be available live streamed on You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrRp47ZMXD7NXO3a9Gyh2sg.

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