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About the Center of Excellence

About the Center of Excellence

"...all decisions are made on the basis of models. Most models are in our heads. Mental models are not true and accurate images of our surroundings, but are only sets of assumptions and observations gained from experience. Mental models have great strengths, but also serious weaknesses... computer simulation models can compensate for weaknesses in mental models"(Forrester, 1994).*

The Models of Infectious Disease Agents Study (MIDAS) was initiated by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to investigate novel computational and mathematical models of existing and emerging infectious diseases. In 2009, the University of Pittsburgh was designated a MIDAS National Center of Excellence, leading a collaborative network of scientists in the development and the use of computational models that will prepare the nation to respond to outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as the H1N1 swine flu. MIDAS's research agenda includes the development of computational tools for the analysis of the dynamics of emergent diseases and for the predictive evaluation of the effectiveness of proposed intervention strategies.

View an 8 minute video introduction to the MIDAS Network and investigators: MIDAS Modeling for Science and Policy Video (Standard Definition)


*Jay W. Forrester. Learning through system dynamics as preparation for the 21st century. Paper presented at: Systems Thinking and Dynamic Modeling Conference for K–12 Education, June 1994, Concord, Mass.
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