Provable Sensor Sets for Epidemic Detection over Networks with Minimum Delay


  • Jack Heavey University of Virginia
  • Jiaming Cui Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Chen Chen University of Virginia
  • B. Aditya Prakash Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Anil Vullikanti University of Virginia



Search And Optimization (SO)


The efficient detection of outbreaks and other cascading phenomena is a fundamental problem in a number of domains, including disease spread, social networks, and infrastructure networks. In such settings, monitoring and testing a small group of pre-selected nodes from the susceptible population (i.e., a sensor set) is often the preferred testing regime. We study the problem of selecting a sensor set that minimizes the delay in detection---we refer to this as the MinDelSS problem. Prior methods for minimizing the detection time rely on greedy algorithms using submodularity. We show that this approach can sometimes lead to a worse approximation for minimizing the detection time than desired. We also show that MinDelSS is hard to approximate within an O(n^(1-1/g))-factor for any constant g greater than or equal to 2 for a graph with n nodes. This instead motivates seeking a bicriteria approximations. We present the algorithm RoundSensor, which gives a rigorous worst case O(log(n))-factor for the detection time, while violating the budget by a factor of O(log^2(n)). Our algorithm is based on the sample average approximation technique from stochastic optimization, combined with linear programming and rounding. We evaluate our algorithm on several networks, including hospital contact networks, which validates its effectiveness in real settings.




How to Cite

Heavey, J., Cui, J., Chen, C., Prakash, B. A., & Vullikanti, A. (2022). Provable Sensor Sets for Epidemic Detection over Networks with Minimum Delay. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 36(9), 10202-10209.



AAAI Technical Track on Search and Optimization