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Students provide videos to public modeling spread of COVID-19

By: 

Stephen Greenwell

A class of graduate students at the University of Houston has worked to create seven videos on YouTube about modeling the spread of COVID-19 among different populations, under the oversight of Dr. Rose T. Faghih, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and the director of the Computational Medicine Laboratory.

Faghih said the models were created as part of a data science mini-project assignment in her class, “State-Space Estimation with Physiological Applications.” The seven students in the course chose to focus on COVID-19 modeling. The videos done by the students were:

Dilranjan Wickramasuriya, a doctoral student of Faghih, helped with editing to create the publicly available playlist.

The initial video in the playlist, “Modeling of the COVID-19 Pandemic” by Alexander O. Steele, explains a simple model for the outbreak in an engaging manner. This public outreach educational video helps the general audience understand how mathematical predictions can be done and how predictions compare with infection data in the United States.

Other videos focus on data from different areas of the United States and various countries. According to Faghih, the students were excited that they could work on a practical course assignment and put their knowledge to good use on a meaningful topic related to the current situation, and to share their findings with others.

Faghih’s course also includes a major project that allows students to work on a real-world biomedical engineering problem, where they apply the tools they've learned in class. The major course project has already resulted in three conference publications from previous semester projects.

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