Be a Researcher
This simulator allows you to model a simplified epidemic. When you click Run, the simulation will advance day-by-day. Each day, a villager has a chance of moving into an empty adjacent space on the grid. If healthy, non-immune villagers come into contact with an infected person, they have a chance of catching the disease, unless that person is quarantined. Once the disease has run its course in a villager, they have a chance of recovering or dying. You can tweak all of these variables, and more, and observe how the epidemic changes.
Each time you conduct a trial the results will appear in the table, and the mean and standard deviation will update. You can clear these results at any time. Note that if you pause a trial and adjust the variables, the simulation will regenerate the grid and reset to Day 0.
Make a Hypothesis
Rigorous research means trying to isolate the effect a single variable has on a situation by “controlling” for the other variables. To begin to understand how any of these variables affect the epidemic, try the following:
- Conduct a number of trials, and record the results.
- Change one variable (e.g., grid dimensions).
- Make a hypothesis about how your change will affect the outcome of the experiment. Here are some examples, each of different complexity:
- If I increase the size of the village, fewer people will die.
- If I increase the size of the village, the disease will take longer to spread, so fewer people will catch it before the infected die or recover.
- If I decrease the size of the village, the epidemic will not last as long, because the disease will spread and then die out more quickly.
- Conduct the same number of trials as you did in the first experiment and record the results.
- Compare the mean and standard deviations between the two experiments. Do the data support your hypothesis?
- Decide on another variable to change, and repeat!