TB or not TB
School: Los Alamos High
Area of Science: Mathematics
Interim: Team 52’s project for the Supercomputing 2012-2013 Challenge involves the epidemiology and disease host modeling of tuberculosis. Tuberculosis may seem like it is not an important disease that pertains to the U.S., however, it is becoming an increasing problem for us today. In addition to the outbreaks in the U.S., our troops are acquiring it overseas and returning with it. If we are not more careful, we may eventually have a full-blown epidemic with the soldiers returning home. A very large threat to us could be that the soldiers who have contracted it, and then return home, may not even be aware that they have this disease. This is especially important in the anti-biotic resistant strain that is now popping up around the world. We have accomplished most of the introductory work for this project and are now working on developing the models of this disease to run our code.
Research has been done into the background of tuberculosis in the State of New Mexico, nationwide and abroad. Early in September the team went to Albuquerque to visit the UNM medical library to gather this information. We had researched what resources were necessary to learn about ahead of time. At the medical library we read many books on the subject, and we made copies in order to use any of this research pertaining to our project at a later date.
Our mentor Dr. Don Tucker at the University of Utah has suggested a system of ordinary differential equations that can be used to model specifically the disease known as tuberculosis. These equations are more specific to tuberculosis than the equations we used last year for disease host modeling. Currently, a code written in the language C, on a Mac OS 10.6.4 operating system and on a PC running Microsoft Windows 7, is being developed to model the system of equations with application to epidemiology. We will use this to further our research and understanding of tuberculosis.
We expect to get results by early 2013 in order to complete our final report. We hope these results will show the threshold of collapse of an individual who has tuberculosis. With this data we will be able to predict the result of a specific individual contracting tuberculosis, whether or not the individual will survive and how significantly they will be impacted. We will also explore what the effects of tuberculosis are on the human body, and what to expect if a large-scale epidemic occurred upon the general population. We may also end up with results to predict the new anti-biotic resistant strain.
Sponsoring Teacher: Lee Goodwin
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