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  • [ June 20, 2019]

    Ph.D. student Xue Feng wins the 2019 Zhang Siying Excellent Paper Award for Young Researchers

  • From June 3rd to 5th, 2019, the 31st Chinese Control and Decision Conference (CCDC) was held in Nanchang, Jiangxi. Ph.D. student Xue Feng from Center for Systems and Control Research, College of Engineering, Peking University, won the highest award of the conference –Zhang Siying Excellent Paper Award for Young Researchers, with her paper entitled "Dynamic analysis and decision-making in disease-behavior systems with perceptions".

    Xue Feng (right) and her supervisor Professor Long Wang (left)

    An annual international conference, CCDC is one of the top academic conferences in China's information and control field. The 31st CCDC aims to create a forum for scientists, engineers and practitioners throughout the world to present the latest developments in Control, Decision, Automation, Robotics including Emerging Technologies. It received more than 1,500 paper submissions from more than 10 countries and regions around the world.

    The Zhang Siying Excellent Paper Award for Young Researchers was set up by CCDC to commemorate academician Zhang Siying and to encourage the younger generation of scholars. After two rounds of evaluations by domestic and foreign experts, five papers were nominated, among which Xue Feng won the award after going through a public defense session.

    The review comments are as follows:

    To date, of the 26 diseases that can be prevented by vaccination, only smallpox has been completely eliminated. To make matters worse, in recent years, diseases that can be prevented by vaccination have exploded on a global scale. For example, according to the Ministry of Health of the Philippines, from January 1, 2019 to May 11, 2019, 34,950 cases of measles were confirmed in the Philippines, of which 477 were fatal. A low vaccination rate is the primary cause of a large outbreak of disease. So why do people refuse vaccination – the most cost-effective public health intervention? Further, what influences human vaccination behavior and disease transmission? How do these influential factors work?

    There are two main influential factors: the non-linear feedback loop between human vaccination behavior and disease transmission dynamics (this factor makes the population vaccination rate and disease prevalence rate change), and whether individual decision-making is in the process of vaccination Bounded rationality. The former has been extensively studied, but there are few studies on the latter due to certain difficulties in mathematical modeling.

    The paper proposes a new SIRV model by combining the knowledge of infectious diseases, cognitive psychology, evolutionary game theory and complex networks to characterize the effects of these two factors on human vaccination behavior and disease transmission. Based on Prospect Theory in cognitive psychology, the SIRV model first described the decision-making process of bounded rationality in mathematical language. The kinetic analysis of the SIRV model shows that the bounded rationality in the decision-making process is conducive to disease prevention and control compared to complete rationality. Through further research, it was found that restricts of population structure on the spread of diseases is the main reason. Therefore, in order to improve the effectiveness of disease prevention and control, vaccination should be combined with other non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as encouraging individuals to pay more attention to information about vaccines and outbreaks from neighbors rather than the whole.

    This study reveals the influence of the bounded rational decision-making process on individual vaccination behavior and disease transmission, and provides theoretical support for the formulation of actual immunization strategies. It is worth mentioning that in the fields of bionic robots, artificial intelligence, etc., how intelligent agents perceive the environment and make decisions is an urgent problem to be solved. The mathematical portrayal of the individual decision-making process by the award-winning paper will help the development of the above fields.