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Reinforcement Learning for Optimization of COVID-19 Mitigation Policies

Varun Kompella

Roberto Capobianco

Stacy Jong*

Jonathan Browne*

Spencer Fox*

Lauren Meyers*

Pete Wurman

Peter Stone

* External authors

AAAI Fall Symposium on AI for Social Good

2020

Abstract

The year 2020 has seen the COVID-19 virus lead to one of the worst global pandemics in history. As a result, governments around the world are faced with the challenge of protecting public health, while keeping the economy running to the greatest extent possible. Epidemiological models provide insight into the spread of these types of diseases and predict the effects of possible intervention policies. However, to date, the even the most data-driven intervention policies rely on heuristics. In this paper, we study how reinforcement learning (RL) can be used to optimize mitigation policies that minimize the economic impact without overwhelming the hospital capacity. Our main contributions are (1) a novel agent-based pandemic simulator which, unlike traditional models, is able to model fine-grained interactions among people at specific locations in a community; and (2) an RL-based methodology for optimizing fine-grained mitigation policies within this simulator. Our results validate both the overall simulator behavior and the learned policies under realistic conditions.

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