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Distributing Medicine with PageRank

Speaker: Dr. Paul Horn
Harvard University

February 16, 2012 - 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Location: Troy 2012
Hosted By: Dr. Mark Goldberg (x2609)


Disease breaks out on a graph! Having isolated the source of the breakout, one would like to know how and where to distribute medicine in order to ensure that the disease dies out quickly. On the other hand, cost is an issue and one would like to not distribute medicine to everywhere on the graph if it is not truly necessary. Modeling the spread of disease with the a variant of the contact process, a classical stochastic process designed to model disease spread, we show that an effective strategy is to consider PageRank vectors, the same objects used by Google's search engine. In particular, we show that by giving medicine to vertices with high personalized PageRank we can control the probability that the disease escapes the medicated set while at the same time ensuring that the disease on the medicated set dies quickly with high probability. We will also look at a variant of the problem where multiple diseases compete and interact via a generalized contact process, which naturally leads to looking at a vectorized version of PageRank

Last updated: February 01, 2012