A Genetic Algorithm Approach to Exploring Simulation Parameters

Ahmad, Saira
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University of Guelph

Simulation of animal disease spread is essential for understanding and controlling the outbreak of disease among herds of livestock (in particular cattle and poultry). Using a computerized system or simulator, animal health professionals or epidemiologists often spend many hours determining the set of input parameters that most accurately represent a disease spread or an outbreak scenario. A parameter can be a simple boolean value, or a scientific or often hypothetically derived range of real numbers. Many times, an epidemiologist chooses a value provisionally in a random fashion and repeats the simulation until a viable solution is achieved. This tedious process is inefficient and lengthy. To assist and improve this laborious practice in a concise and timely manner, a Genetic Algorithm is employed to determine a population based solution consisting of input parameters using the North American Animal Disease Spread Model (NAADSM).

Genetic Algorithm, animal disease spread simulator, stochastic simulation, simulation, simulation parameters