Santa Cruz Tech Beat


Pandemic Spread Simulator by productOps team recognized at the Pandemic Response Hackathon

By JT Mudge and Sarah Robinson

April 2, 2020 — Santa Cruz, CA

(Image source: productOps)

Simulation built to help visualize shelter in place and explain why it is important

[Update 4/1: The productOps team was recognized as a Spotlight Project team in the Epidemiology and Science of Disease category for the Pandemic Response Hackathon out of 230 project teams that entered.]

The Challenge

In this moment, all of our lives are consumed with the COVID-19 pandemic in some shape or form. But life’s challenges can sometimes inspire us. We all have different experiences and understandings of what we are going through. We all have a different perception of the severity of the pandemic compared to our friends in other locations. The Pandemic Spread Simulator – PaSS was built over this last weekend as part of the Pandemic Response Hackathon Challenge to help visualize what it means to shelter in place and why it is important.

What It Does

The simulation models human behavior regarding sheltering in place during a pandemic in a simulated city. We wanted people to be able to create their own simulations. It’s not perfect—it’s not a clinically accurate tool— it is the framework that we are looking to make more usable and accurate in the future. But it does solve our core mission to get people thinking more seriously about shelter in place.

How We Built It

Very quickly. We in one weekend starting on Friday and finishing 9pm Sunday night. We were constantly on chat and video and did a lot of walkthroughs of iterations. We were iterating about every two or three hours with releases.

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