Modelling lockdown measures in epidemic outbreaks using selective socio-economic containment with uncertainty.

G. Albi, L. Pareschi, M. Zanella

Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering, 18(6): 7161-7190, 2021. (Preprint arXiv)

After the introduction of drastic containment measures aimed at stopping the epidemic contagion from SARS-CoV2, many governments have adopted a strategy based on a periodic relaxation of such measures in the face of a severe economic crisis caused by lockdowns. Assessing the impact of such openings in relation to the risk of a resumption of the spread of the disease is an extremely difficult problem due to the many unknowns concerning the actual number of people infected, the actual reproduction number and infection fatality rate of the disease. In this work, starting from a compartmental model with a social structure and stochastic inputs, we derive models with multiple feedback controls depending on the social activities that allow to assess the impact of a selective relaxation of the containment measures in the presence of uncertain data. Specific contact patterns in the home, work, school and other locations have been considered. Results from different scenarios concerning the first wave of the epidemic in some major countries, including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, are presented and discussed.

Control with uncertain data of socially structured compartmental epidemic models

G. Albi, L. Pareschi, M. Zanella

Journal of Mathematical Biology, 82, 63, 2021. (Preprint arXiv)

The adoption of containment measures to reduce the amplitude of the epidemic peak is a key aspect in tackling the rapid spread of an epidemic. Classical compartmental models must be modified and studied to correctly describe the effects of forced external actions to reduce the impact of the disease. In addition, data are often incomplete and heterogeneous, so a high degree of uncertainty must naturally be incorporated into the models. In this work we address both these aspects, through an  optimal control formulation of the epidemiological model in presence of uncertain data. After the introduction of the optimal control problem, we formulate an instantaneous approximation of the control that allows us to derive new feedback controlled compartmental models capable of describing the epidemic peak reduction. The need for long-term interventions shows that alternative actions based on the social structure of the system can be as effective as the more expensive global strategy. The importance of the timing and intensity of interventions is particularly relevant in the case of uncertain parameters on the actual number of infected people. Simulations related to data from the recent COVID-19 outbreak in Italy are presented and discussed.

Wealth distribution under the spread of infectious diseases

G. Dimarco, L. Pareschi, G. Toscani, M. Zanella

Physical Review E, 102: 022303, 2020. (Preprint arXiv).

We develop a mathematical framework to study the economic impact of infectious diseases by integrating epidemiological dynamics with a kinetic model of wealth exchange.  The multi-agent description leads to study the evolution over time of a system of kinetic equations for the wealth densities of susceptible, infectious and recovered individuals, whose proportions are driven by a classical compartmental model in epidemiology. Explicit calculations show that the spread of the disease seriously affects the distribution of wealth, which, unlike the situation in the absence of epidemics, can converge towards a stationary state with a bimodal form. Furthermore, simulations confirm the ability of the model to describe different phenomena characteristics of economic trends in situations compromised by the rapid spread of an epidemic, such as the unequal impact on the various wealth classes and the risk of a shrinking middle class.

 

Monte Carlo stochastic Galerkin methods for the Boltzmann equation with uncertainties: space-homogeneous case

Lorenzo Pareschi, Mattia Zanella

Journal of Computational Physics, 423: 109822, 2020. (Preprint arXiv)

In this paper we propose a novel numerical approach for the Boltzmann equation with uncertainties. The method combines the efficiency of classical direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) schemes in the phase space together with the accuracy of stochastic Galerkin (sG) methods in the random space. This  hybrid formulation makes it possible to construct methods that preserve the main physical properties of the solution along with spectral accuracy in the random space. The schemes are developed and analyzed in the case of space homogeneous problems as these contain the main numerical difficulties. Several test cases are reported, both in the Maxwell and in the variable hard sphere (VHS) framework, and confirm the properties and performance of the new methods.

 

Boltzmann-type description with cutoff of Follow-the-Leader traffic models

Andrea Tosin, Mattia Zanella

Trails in Kinetic Theory: Foundational Aspects and Numerical Methods, pp. 227-251. (Preprint arXiv)

In this paper we consider a Boltzmann-type kinetic description of Follow-the-Leader traffic dynamics and we study the resulting asymptotic distributions, namely the counterpart of the Maxwellian distribution of the classical kinetic theory. In the Boltzmann-type equation we include a non-Maxwellian, viz. non-constant, collision kernel in order to exclude from the statistical model possibly unphysical interactions. In spite of the increased analytical difficulty caused by this further non-linearity, we show that a careful application of the quasi-invariant limit (an asymptotic procedure reminiscent of the grazing collision limit) successfully leads to a Fokker-Planck approximation of the original Boltzmann-type equation, whence stationary distributions can be explicitly computed. Our analytical results justify, from a genuinely model-based point of view, some empirical results found in the literature by interpolation of experimental data.

Reconstruction of traffic speed distributions from kinetic models with uncertainties

Michael Herty, Andrea Tosin, Giuseppe Visconti, Mattia Zanella

Mathematical descriptions of traffic flow: micro, macro and kinetic models, pp. 1-16. (Preprint arXiv)

In this work we investigate the ability of a kinetic approach for traffic dynamics to predict speed distributions obtained through rough data. The present approach adopts the formalism of uncertainty quantification, since reaction strengths are uncertain and linked to different types of driver behaviour or different classes of vehicles present in the flow. Therefore, the calibration of the expected speed distribution has to face the reconstruction of the distribution of the uncertainty. We adopt experimental microscopic measurements recorded on a German motorway, whose speed distribution shows a multimodal trend. The calibration is performed by extrapolating the uncertainty parameters of the kinetic distribution via a constrained optimisation approach. The results confirm the validity of the theoretical set-up.

Model-based assessment of the impact of driver-assist vehicles using kinetic theory

B. Piccoli, A. Tosin, M. Zanella

Zeitschrift für Angewandte Mathematik und Physik, 71:152, 2020.

In this paper we consider a kinetic description of follow-the-leader traffic models, which we use to study the effect of vehicle-wise driver-assist control strategies at various scales, from that of the local traffic up to that of the macroscopic stream of vehicles. We provide a theoretical evidence of the fact that some typical control strategies, such as the alignment of the speeds and the optimisation of the time headways, impact on the local traffic features (for instance, the speed and headway dispersion responsible for local traffic instabilities) but have virtually no effect on the observable macroscopic traffic trends (for instance, the flux/throughput of vehicles). This unobvious conclusion, which is in very nice agreement with recent field studies on autonomous vehicles, suggests that the kinetic approach may be a valid tool for an organic multiscale investigation and possibly design of driver-assist algorithms.

 

Kinetic modelling of multiple interactions in socio-economic systems

Giuseppe Toscani, Andrea Tosin, Mattia Zanella

Network & Heterogeneous Media, 15(3): 519-542, 2020. (Preprint arXiv)

Unlike the classical kinetic theory of rarefied gases, where microscopic interactions among gas molecules are described as binary collisions, the modelling of socio-economic phenomena in a multi-agent system naturally requires to consider, in various situations, multiple interactions among the individuals. In this paper, we collect and discuss some examples related to economic and gambling activities. In particular, we focus on a linearisation strategy of the multiple interactions, which greatly simplifies the kinetic description of such systems while maintaining all their essential aggregate features, including the equilibrium distributions.

Structure preserving schemes for Fokker-Planck equations with nonconstant diffusion matrices

 

Nadia Loy, Mattia Zanella

Mathematics and Computers in Simulation, 188: 342-362, 2021. (Preprint arXiv)

In this work we consider an extension of a recently proposed structure preserving numerical scheme for nonlinear Fokker-Planck-type equations to the case of nonconstant full diffusion matrices. While in existing works the schemes are formulated in a one-dimensional setting, here we consider exclusively the two-dimensional case. We prove that the proposed schemes preserve fundamental structural properties like nonnegativity of the solution without restriction on the size of the mesh and entropy dissipation. Moreover, all the methods presented here are at least second order accurate in the transient regimes and arbitrarily high order for large times in the hypothesis in which the flux vanishes at the stationary state. Suitable numerical tests will confirm the theoretical results.

Multiple-interaction kinetic modelling of a virtual-item gambling economy

Giuseppe Toscani, Andrea Tosin, Mattia Zanella

Physical Review E, 100(1): 012308, 2019.

In recent years, there has been a proliferation of online gambling sites, which made gambling more accessible with a consequent rise in related problems, such as addiction. Hence, the analysis of the gambling behaviour at both the individual and the aggregate levels has become the object of several investigations. In this paper, resorting to classical methods of the kinetic theory, we describe the behaviour of a multi-agent system of gamblers participating in lottery-type games on a virtual-item gambling market. The comparison with previous, often empirical, results highlights the ability of the kinetic approach to explain how the simple microscopic rules of a gambling-type game produce complex collective trends, which might be difficult to interpret precisely by looking only at the available data.