Operations Research Models for Public Policy

I have two possible projects for which I am seeking student research assistants for summer 2022:

1. Network Analysis of Fake News Propagation on Social Media: We are embedding our previously developed probability model for the propagation of fake news on social media into a network propagation framework.  We seek to understand the conditions causing untruthful or highly biased news to “cascade” through the network, and the influence such content has on population beliefs.  The work will involve finalizing the existing code base to run simulations through the network, analyzing data, simulating the effect of policy interventions, and drawing conclusions.

2. International Pricing of Pediatric Vaccines: GAVI is a Global Vaccine Alliance that facilitates the procurement of pediatric vaccines on behalf of low income countries worldwide.  To do so, GAVI negotiates price and quantity contracts directly with vaccine manufacturers.  Currently, pentavalent combination vaccines are available that provide, in a single administration, vaccination against five antigens.  Under development is a hexavalent vaccine that would add a sixth antigen to the combination vaccine.  Doing so would dramatically reduce operational costs associated with distributing these vaccines and could dramatically improve vaccination rates in low income countries. This project seeks to refine our previously developed model to determine procurement prices and quantities to incentivize pharmaceutical companies to develop the hexavalent vaccine.   The work will involve developing a code base for the model, running computational analysis over a range of scenarios, analyzing data, simulating the effect of policy interventions, and drawing conclusions.

Interested students should indicate in their application essay which project(s) they would like to work on and any relevant coursework.  Programming proficiency is a necessary skill; background or interest in operations research preferred.  This is applied research, so students should expect a fair number of computational tasks.

Name of research group, project, or lab
Prof. Martonosi
Why join this research group or lab?

This is a great opportunity for students who want to learn how to use mathematical models to inform public policy.

Logistics Information:
Project categories
Operations Research
Student ranks applicable
Student qualifications

- Programming proficiency in Python

- Willingness to learn a new language for mathematical optimization

- Comfort in R for data analysis

- Familiarity with linear programming and mixed integer programming is useful for project (2) but not required.

Time commitment
Summer - Full Time
Paid Research
Number of openings
Techniques learned

- Sensitivity analysis

- Large scale computational testing for policy analysis

- Mathematical Programming formulations

Contact Information:
Mentor name
Susan Martonosi
Mentor email
Mentor position
Professor of Mathematics
Name of project director or principal investigator
Susan Martonosi
Email address of project director or principal investigator
2 sp. | 13 appl.
Hours per week
Summer - Full Time
Project categories
Operations Research