Thoughtworks and Ashoka University team up to track Covid-19 spread in India

Thoughtworks and Ashoka University team up to track Covid-19 spread in India
Photo Credit: Thinkstock
21 Apr, 2020

Software and consultancy services platform ThoughtWorks has partnered with Ashoka University to develop an agent-based simulation model to track the spread of Covid-19 in India, according to a company statement released on Monday.

The model, called BharatSim, builds on EpiRust, an open-source framework developed and released recently by ThoughtWorks. Agent-based models provide ways of understanding how epidemics spread, the statement said.

“It (the model) can also provide estimates of the hospital bed and critical care requirements in an epidemic situation. Because the model allows for comparing different interventions, it will provide a powerful tool for decision making,” the statement added.

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The model will initially represent 5% of the Indian population at a level of detail most useful to epidemic modeling. In the coming months, it will be expanded to represent up to 40% of the Indian population.

In BharatSim, every individual is simulated as an "agent" on a computer.

An agent-based modeling system consists of independent agents that alter collective data in real-time. The entities are replete with pre-set rules, which help to arrive at the collective decisions in simulation.

The properties of agents in BharatSim will be mapped to district and state-level demographic studies, including age distributions, sex ratios, population densities and health indicators. 

“Once completed, BharatSim will be made freely available to the community of researchers and policymakers in India and elsewhere,” Gautam Menon, Professor of Physics and Biology at Ashoka University said. The team of developers is led by Menon and Harshal Hayatnagarkar, a computer scientist at ThoughtWorks.

Founded in 1993 by Neville ‘Roy’ Singham, Chicago-based Thoughtworks was acquired by London-based private equity firm Apax Partners in 2017. The company employs over 7,000 workers across 43 offices in 14 countries.

In July 2019, the company opened its seventh office in India.

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