Robust Optimal Control of Compartmental Models in Epidemiology: Application to the COVID-19 Pandemic
In this paper, a spectral approach is used to formulate and solve robust optimal control problems for compartmental epidemic models, allowing the uncertainty propagation through the optimal control model to be represented by a polynomial expansion of its stochastic state variables. More specifically, a statistical moment-based polynomial chaos expansion is employed. The spectral expansion of the stochastic state variables allows the computation of their main statistics to be carried out, resulting in a compact and efficient representation of the variability of the optimal control model with respect to its random parameters. The proposed robust formulation provides the designers of the optimal control strategy of the epidemic model the capability to increase the predictability of the results by simply adding upper bounds on the variability of the state variables. Moreover, this approach yields a way to efficiently estimate the probability distributions of the stochastic state variables and conduct a global sensitivity analysis. To show the practical implementation of the proposed approach, a mathematical model of COVID-19 transmission is considered. The numerical results show that the spectral approach proposed to formulate and solve robust optimal control problems for compartmental epidemic models provides healthcare systems with a valuable tool to mitigate and control the impact of infectious diseases.
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