Summary #1148

Solution to century-old math problem could predict transmission of infectious diseases
  • The math problem in question is the discrete diffusion equation in finite space.
  • Until now, defining the probability of encountering and transmitting a particle in a closed space required huge computer simulations (= lots of wasted time and energy).
  • The solution to the basic diffusion equation has been known for a long time, but nobody knew how to quickly solve it for, say, one particular day and place.
  • This will help scientists from many different fields, for example in predicting molecule diffusion in cells, the moves of bacteria in a petri dish, or animal movements.
  • It could even help predict how a virus moves between individuals in a crowd in a confined space.


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