COVID-19 & Societal Impacts

Modeling Epidemics as a Chemical Reaction Process

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USC Viterbi School of Engineering Dean Yannis Yortsos presents a model for the spreading of epidemics based on an analogy with chemical reaction and diffusion processes. The model accounts for spatial effects, including the emergence of contagion waves, currently missing from the standard (SIR) models. Yortsos also discusses how epidemics initiate, how they spread and what parameters can be controlled to arrest their growth.

Who Will Benefit

– Those seeking more understanding on how epidemics initiate
– Engineers hoping to add more insight to the public understanding and response to COVID-19
– Those looking to understand how epidemics spread through reaction-diffusion analogies

About Our Featured Faculty

Yannis C. Yortsos is the dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the Zohrab Kaprielian Chair in Engineering, a position he has held since 2005. Prior to that, he served from 2001-2005 as associate dean and then as senior associate dean for academic affairs. His research area is in fluid flow, transport and reaction processes in porous media with specific application to the subsurface. Yortsos joined the USC faculty of chemical and petroleum engineering in 1978, and he served as chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering between 1991 and 1996. Since 1995, he has also held the Chester Dolley Professorship. He received a BS degree in chemical engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, and MS and PhD degrees from the California Institute of Technology, all in chemical engineering.