Modelling infectious diseases: what can branching processes tell us?

This is a collaborative talk organised by the Department of Statistics, the Department of Computer Science and the BDI. The talk will be held on Zoom.

Mathematical descriptions of infectious disease outbreaks are fundamental to understanding how transmission occurs. Reductively, two approaches are used: individual based simulators and governing equation models, and both approaches have a multitude of pros and cons. In this talk I will connect these two worlds via general branching processes. I will discuss (at a high level) the rather beautiful mathematics that arises from these branching processes and how these can help us understand the assumptions underpinning mathematical models for infectious disease. I will then explain how this new maths can help us understand uncertainty better, and show some simple examples. This talk will be a little technical, but I will focus as much as possible on intuition and the big picture.