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Renowned physicist and data science expert to deliver talk on use of data to tackle world’s most urgent challenges

05 December 2023

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Krauss developed the internationally renowned JUNE model, enabling human behaviour to be factored into simulations with increasing sophistication. This model was used by the World Health Organization and the United Nations to guide decision-making in contexts such as refugee camps.

Now, he is exploring the next generation of data and simulation approaches that are transforming how we can envisage and prepare for emerging threats – with applications from disease outbreaks to the impacts of climate change.

Krauss’s visit is hosted in New Zealand by the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) through the Vision Awards, to build on the lessons from COVID-19 to ensure New Zealand has the science and surveillance capability it needs.

The seminar, co-hosted by ESR and Victoria University of Wellington, will highlight the critical role of collaboration when tackling complex problems and realising the full potential of data-driven solutions.

As a Professor in the Department of Physics and the Centre for Particle Theory, Professor Krauss’s interdisciplinary approach has made him a leading figure in both physics and data science.

What sets Professor Krauss's work apart is its real-world impact. The open-source JUNE model garnered attention for its potential to be applied internationally, aiding governments and health organizations in their efforts to combat the pandemic. Intrigued by the dynamics of epidemics, Krauss’s model not only aids in understanding the spread of the virus but also offers insights for strategic interventions. Its adaptation for refugee camps showcased the model's versatility and its potential to address health challenges in diverse settings.

ESR Chief Data and Analytics Officer Jan Sheppard says Krauss’s insights are valuable as New Zealand builds its capability in using the power of data and highly advanced simulation tools to make a step change in our approach to health surveillance.

“No doubt COVID-19 spurred incredible work in data modelling and scenario planning, and we saw the effectiveness of this in New Zealand. But since then, the technology and tools have advanced enormously, powered by AI and phenomenal data sets. Professor Krauss’s insights are not about our last pandemic, but our next one.”

Event Details:

Title: Data, Models and Reality
Date and Time: Thursday 7 December, 4PM-5:30PM
Location: Government Building Lecture Theatre, Pipitea campus GBLT1, Victoria University

About Professor Frank Krauss

Professor Frank Krauss is a renowned academic currently serving as the Director of the Institute for Data Science at Durham University, and a Professor in the Department of Physics and the Centre for Particle Theory. His academic journey began with undergraduate studies at TH Darmstadt, followed by a PhD at TU Dresden, and several postdoctoral positions. His research focuses on the phenomenology of particle physics, a branch of theoretical physics that bridges the gap between abstract models for the fundamental interaction of matter and experimental phenomena. He has made significant contributions to the field, including the development of the SHERPA Monte Carlo event generator, a simulation tool that describes experimental reality in great detail. Professor Krauss has also been involved in the development of JUNE, an open-source framework for the detailed simulation of epidemics based on social interactions in a virtual population.