Hi BNC folks. I’m currently sitting in Los Angeles airport waiting to board a flight to Sydney in a few hours time — it’s my first time on the internet for a few days. It’s been a fabulous trip to the US, and I intend to post up a couple of ‘diary’ entries in which I detail my visit to California (including the eye-popping lab of Per Peterson at UC Berkeley) and my incredibly awesome visit to Argonne West at Idaho Falls, site of the EBR-I and EBR-II fast reactors and the fuel conditioning facility (with lots of photos, just to prove it!).
Two things to note for now, both on a non-nuclear front.
First, The 6-day intensive workshop in Chicago was terrific, and Corey Bradshaw has done a great job of describing its outcomes. Rather than re-hash this, I’ll quote Corey:
Last week I mentioned that a group of us from Australia were travelling to Chicago to work with Bob Lacy, Phil Miller, JP Pollak andResit Akcakaya to make some pretty exciting developments in next-generation conservation ecology and management software. Also attending were Barry Brook, our postdocs:Damien Fordham, Thomas Prowse and Mike Watts, our colleague (and former postdoc) Clive McMahon, and a student of Phil’s, Michelle Verant. At the closing of the week-long workshop, I thought I’d share my thoughts on how it all went.
In a word, it was ‘productive’. It’s not often that you can spend 1 week locked in a tiny room with 10 other geeks and produce so many good and state-of-the-art models, but we certainly achieved more than we had anticipated.
Let me explain in brief why it’s so exciting. First, I must say that even the semi-quantitative among you should be ready for the appearance of ‘Meta-Model Manager (MMM)’ in the coming months. This clever piece of software was devised by JP, Bob and Phil to make disparate models ‘talk’ to each other during a population projection run. We had dabbled with MMM a little last year, but its value really came to light this week.
We used MMM to combine several different models that individually fail to capture the full behaviour of a population. Most of you will be familiar with the individual-based population viability (PVA) software Vortex that allows relatively easy PVA model building and is particular useful for predicting extinction risk of small populations. What you most likely don’t know exists is what Phil, Bob and JP call Outbreak – an epidemiological modelling software based on the classic susceptible-exposed-infectious-recoveredframework. Outbreak is also an individual-based model that can talk directly to Vortex, but only through MMM.