Mathematics of the COVID19 crisis


ECMI Webinar - April 29, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is currently generating considerable activity among applied and industrial mathematicians across Europe.

The mathematics of modelling, simulation, and optimisation in all its various forms has experienced an unusual level of attention from authorities and from the media. In recent weeks, separate teams of researchers in countries across Europe (and elsewhere) have been busy with the urgent task of providing a rigorous basis for difficult political decisions.

To aid exchange of ideas and preliminary results, to stimulate discussion, and to foster international collaboration, the European Consortium for Mathematics in Industry (ECMI) is organising a web seminar on

April 29, 2020 at 2:00-4:30 pm CEST

The webinar will bring together experts from different countries, who will outline their approaches in short presentations. The webinar is primarily an exchange between applied mathematicians, but it is public, and will be viewable on YouTube.

To attend the seminar on YouTube in real time, please connect to this link, and select the live streaming window, under the Video tab.

Each talk will be 15-20 minutes long and will be followed by a session of questions. The attendees may use the YouTube live chat to address questions to the speakers.

The webinar will remain permanently available on YouTube at this link.


2:00-2:30 pm CEST

Rosa M. Crujeiras Casais, University of Santiago de Compostela

A cooperative experience for understanding COVID-19


In a crisis situation like the one we are passing through, contributions from science and academy may be helpful for understanding the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this brief talk, a cooperative experience in Spain will be introduced, focusing later on short-term prediction methods based on statistical tools and pointing out the problems that may arise due to data recording heterogeneity.

2:30-3:00 pm CEST

Thomas Götz, University of Koblenz

Microstructure-Simulation for Covid-19 in Germany


In the talk we will report about the different modeling and simulation approaches in Koblenz.

As part of the MOCOS consortium we are conducting stochastic microstructure simulations together with the universities of Kaiserslautern, Trier and Wroclaw. In Koblenz we are also doing parameter estimations based on SIR-type models. These models allow to simulate effects of schools openings, the influence of household structures onto the disease dynamics and to estimate the number of undetected cases. Since all this is ongoing and very active current research work, the special focus of the talk is not yet fixed.

3:00-3:30 pm CEST

Uffe Høgsbro Thygesen, Technical University of Denmark

Modelling the COVID-19 outbreak in Denmark


Following the governmental intervention around March 12, after case numbers in Denmark had risen, an Expert Group was formed with participants from a number of Danish universities. The objective of the group is to establish a model-based foundation for advice to the health authorities, most importantly based on predictions of the load on the health care system in various scenarios. In this talk I will give an overview of the modelling frameworks used by the group and the analyses conducted. I will present some learnings from the work and point out areas where our limited knowledge about the disease is most critical.

3:30-4:00 pm CEST

Rinaldo M. Colombo, University of Brescia

A NonLocal Epidemic Model with Age Structure, Space Dependence and Quarantine


Simple assumptions on the spreading of a Covid-19 like virus lead to state a new epidemic model. Based on a nonlocal integrodifferential equation, it is able to capture key features of the current pandemic. While we leave the analytic well posedness theory to a future study, here we present numerical integrations reproducing qualitative patterns that have been observed in the last weeks. Within this new framework, various optimal control problems can be stated, possibly suggesting optimal health policies.

Joint work with M. Garavello, F. Marcellini, E. Rossi

4:00-4:30 pm CEST

Swapnil Mishra, Imperial College, London

Estimating the number of infections and the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19


Following the emergence of a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and its spread outside of China, Europe has experienced large epidemics. In response, many European countries have implemented unprecedented non-pharmaceutical interventions including case isolation, the closure of schools and universities, banning of mass gatherings and/or public events, and most recently, wide-scale social distancing including local and national lockdowns.

In this talk we describe a semi-mechanistic Bayesian hierarchical model that infers the impact of these interventions and estimates the number of infections over time. We estimate parameters jointly for all countries in a single hierarchical model. Inference is performed in the probabilistic programming language Stan using an adaptive Hamiltonian Monte Carlo (HMC) sampler.

Host: Katerina Kaouri, Cardiff University

Moderators: Poul Hjorth, Technical University of Denmark & Miguel Bustamante, University College Dublin

Organizing Committee

Adérito Araújo, University of Coimbra

Chris Budd, University of Bath

Miguel Bustamante, University College Dublin

Aviv Gibali, ORT Braude College

Poul Hjorth, Technical University of Denmark

Dietmar Homberg, WIAS Berlin

Katerina Kaouri, Cardiff University

Natasa Krejic, University of Novi Sad

Alessandra Micheletti, Università degli Studi di Milano

Tim Myers, Centre de Recerca Matematica (Barcelona)

Elena Vázquez Cendón, University of Santiago de Compostela

Scientific secretariat and contact

Roberto Zuffada, Università degli Studi di Milano