Luis Zaman - Professor of Complex Systems and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology - will be teaching a new course in the fall: "EEB 315 - The Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases". As part of his preparation for the course, Luis explains:
I've always believed that hands-on learning is the best way to build intuition about complex topics, and that's something I'm planning to bring to my course in the fall. I'm also a big fan of simulations. That's true for the classes I teach, as well as in my own research.
There are a lot of great resources for scientists interested in studying disease dynamics, and several good simulation frameworks that are geared towards teaching broadly about disease transmission. I spent some time looking for something that would run in web browsers, so that students could get right into experimenting without having the universally loathed class period dedicated to installing software. Unfortunately, I didn't find a simulation with the right mix of simplicity (to get rid of so many of the complicated bits) and flexibility (to add in the bits that might be important) for this course.
So, I built it.
Luis has prepared three separate sites all with built in simulation options. We are fortunate to have access to these tools that he has prepared for his upcoming class and for public use.
Dr. Zamans' background in computer programming is on display with these beautiful website interfaces with clear, colorful graphic simulations. They help us understand the topics fully by allowing us to interact with the data.