Software program optimizes decisions during deadly pandemics

A systems engineering professor at Georgia Tech University recently presented a new software program that can improve decision making during emergency scenarios like a deadly pandemic.

Eva Lee presented the novel software program, RealOpt, during the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences annual meeting in Chicago. She said the software helps healthcare officials to make important decisions very quickly during a pandemic, reports.

"This is the first motivation: How do you mobilize limited resources during a stressful time?" Lee said, according to "Also with people that are well and worried, we have to protect them... So people have to make lots of decisions within a short period of time. This prompted us to design a system to guide them through that to make smart decisions."

Lee and her team used multiple data sets to program software that can produce detailed instructions with little input from the user. If an infectious pathogen were to emerge, health officials could input information into RealOpt about the disease, the geographical area and the sources at their disposal. RealOpt provides users with instructions on how to move forward in seconds.

The software provides information on how officials can operate medical dispensing sites, which patients will require the most attention and even the different languages spoken in different regions.

"That's the prediction that's really good," Lee said, according to "We understand there's difficulty with language barriers - especially with having children around. So it makes them deal with the human factors, which is critical during a crisis."

Lee said RealOpt can also collect information from Twitter to track trends and provide information at a rate fast enough to keep too many people from getting sick and spreading disease, reports.