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Modeling the dynamics of epidemics helps to propose control strategies based on pharmaceuticaland non-pharmaceutical interventions (contact limitation, lockdown, vaccination,etc). Hand-designing such strategies is not trivial because of the number of possibleinterventions and the difficulty to predict long-term effects. This task can be cast as an optimization problem where state-of-the-art machine learning methods such as deep reinforcement learning might bring significant value. However, the specificity of each domain|epidemic modeling or solving optimization problems|requires strong collaborationsbetween researchers from different fields of expertise. This is why we introduce EpidemiOptim, a Python toolbox that facilitates collaborations between researchers inepidemiology and optimization. EpidemiOptim turns epidemiological models and cost functions into optimization problems via a standard interface commonly used by optimization practitioners (OpenAI Gym). Reinforcement learning algorithms based on QLearning with deep neural networks (DQN) and evolutionary algorithms (NSGA-II) are already implemented. We illustrate the use of EpidemiOptim to find optimal policies fordynamical on-o lockdown control under the optimization of the death toll and economic recess using a Susceptible-Exposed-Infectious-Removed (SEIR) model for COVID-19. Using EpidemiOptim and its interactive visualization platform in Jupyter notebooks, epidemiologists, optimization practitioners and others (e.g. economists) can easily compare epidemiological models, costs functions and optimization algorithms to address important choicesto be made by health decision-makers. Trained models can be explored by experts and non-experts via a web interface.
This article is part of the special track on AI and COVID-19.