Uncertainty Informed Optimal Resource Allocation with Gaussian Process based Bayesian Inference

by   Samarth Gupta, et al.

We focus on the problem of uncertainty informed allocation of medical resources (vaccines) to heterogeneous populations for managing epidemic spread. We tackle two related questions: (1) For a compartmental ordinary differential equation (ODE) model of epidemic spread, how can we estimate and integrate parameter uncertainty into resource allocation decisions? (2) How can we computationally handle both nonlinear ODE constraints and parameter uncertainties for a generic stochastic optimization problem for resource allocation? To the best of our knowledge current literature does not fully resolve these questions. Here, we develop a data-driven approach to represent parameter uncertainty accurately and tractably in a novel stochastic optimization problem formulation. We first generate a tractable scenario set by estimating the distribution on ODE model parameters using Bayesian inference with Gaussian processes. Next, we develop a parallelized solution algorithm that accounts for scenario-dependent nonlinear ODE constraints. Our scenario-set generation procedure and solution approach are flexible in that they can handle any compartmental epidemiological ODE model. Our computational experiments on two different non-linear ODE models (SEIR and SEPIHR) indicate that accounting for uncertainty in key epidemiological parameters can improve the efficacy of time-critical allocation decisions by 4-8 can be attributed to data-driven and optimal (strategic) nature of vaccine allocations, especially in the early stages of the epidemic when the allocation strategy can crucially impact the long-term trajectory of the disease.


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