Prof. John Baez (University of California, Riverside)

Category Theory in Epidemiology

“Stock and flow diagrams” are widely used for modeling in epidemiology. Modelers often regard these diagrams as an informal step toward a mathematically rigorous formulation of a model in terms of ordinary differential equations. However, these diagrams have a precise syntax, which can be explicated using category theory. Although commercial tools already exist for drawing these diagrams and solving the differential equations they describe, my collaborators and I have created new software that overcomes some limitations of existing tools. Basing this software on categories has many advantages, but I will explain three: functorial semantics, model composition, and model stratification. This is joint work with Xiaoyan Li, Sophie Libkind, Nathaniel Osgood, Evan Patterson and Eric Redekopp.

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