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Harnessing Algorithms for Swift and Effective Biosecurity

Image credits: canterbury.ac.nz

In our interconnected and globally integrated world, the emergence of various pathogens is just a plane or ship journey away, and their impact can be substantial on both local and global economies. In light of this issue, Professor of Data Science, Alex Gavryushkin, is co-leading the new research exploring the algorithm to respond to a biosecurity outbreak swiftly and effectively.

Associate Professor Gavryushkin said that agriculture is vital for Aotearoa New Zealand’s economy and is the basis of global exports. The agricultural sector produces 40% of New Zealand’s exports. Agriculture is the backbone of rural economies, providing employment opportunities for farmers and farmworkers and supporting industries such as agribusinesses, equipment manufacturers, and food processing companies.

However, agriculture is not only limited as a significant source of employment in several rural areas. Its performance also influences the success of urban areas and many secondary industries which depend on it, increasing economic well-being and sustainability, influencing their growth, infrastructure development, and quality of life.

As we can see, agriculture brings a significant impact on New Zealand itself. People must take it seriously to prevent highly contagious viral infections such as foot and mouth disease (FMD). If agriculture were to be affected by such an outbreak, it could potentially throw the national economy into a recession, causing losses upward of NZ$16 billion.

Professor Gavryushkin strongly emphasises the significance of making highly accurate predictions regarding the potential spread of an outbreak. This accuracy is crucial in facilitating policymakers to foster their decision-making processes and implement effective measures to mitigate and control the outbreak’s impact.

By utilising advanced algorithms capable of dynamically updating results in real time, the research seeks to provide policymakers with up-to-date and reliable information about the evolving nature of the outbreak.

It includes predicting the areas at the highest risk of transmission and identifying potential hotspots, enabling policymakers to allocate resources strategically and implement targeted interventions to limit the spread of the disease

This research has the potential to significantly enhance the ability to respond swiftly and effectively to outbreaks, thereby safeguarding communities and facilitating a more efficient and proactive approach to public health management.

Afterwards, he is embarking on collaborating with the University of Auckland’s Dr Remco Bouckaert and partners from Massey University and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for doing research in terms of developing a new type of algorithm to improve outbreak response by providing more precision and accurate results.

The objective of the research is to create algorithms that can dynamically update results in real-time, eliminating the need to restart computations from the beginning when large volumes of new data are received. Instead, the algorithms will revise previous calculations and adjust predictions as necessary.

The current algorithm system presents policymakers with only one scenario, based on it being statistically the most probable. Its transmission tracing lacks the ability to effectively handle the continuous influx of new data, which is common during an ongoing outbreak when the transmission tree rapidly expands in size.

According to Associate Professor Gavryushkin, establishing a solid infrastructure for biosecurity algorithms will greatly enhance their ability to proactively address potential issues in the future. By conducting intricate and time-intensive pre-computations well in advance, including prior to outbreaks and concurrently with them, they can significantly mitigate challenges that may arise down the line. This proactive approach ensures that comprehensive preparations are in place, enabling a more efficient and effective response to biosecurity threats.

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Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and consulting services provider, helping clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,800 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently, and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity, and service. For more information, visit www.ibm.com