The Center for Advanced Preparedness and Threat Response Simulation (CAPTRS) co-hosted the first ever Simulation Games for Global Pandemic Resilience workshop at the Santa Fe Institute on May 17-18 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The workshop was organized by Dr. Lauren Ancel Meyers (University of Texas at Austin), Dr. Francesca de Rosa (CAPTRS), and Dr. Margaret Polski (US Naval War College). It was funded by the National Science Foundation’s program on Predictive Intelligence for Pandemic Preparedness (PIPP), CAPTRS, and the Santa Fe Institute.
The two-day workshop convened over 30 scientists, engineers, public health leaders, and wargame designers to envision the design of games to advance global preparedness for deadly pathogens. Through expert panels and provocative breakout discussions, the group was able to articulate a 5-10 year research agenda for advancing the art and science of gaming for global threat resilience.
“When COVID emerged, we didn’t have the right playbooks, resources, or decision-making teams in place to combat such a rapid, uncertain, and deadly threat,” said Dr. Lauren Ancel Meyers, co-founder of CAPTRS and a professor at The University of Texas at Austin. “Our workshop catalyzed a new area of gaming science that will ensure we are better prepared for the next one. By bringing together experts on pathogens, human cognition, wargaming, and global preparedness for the first time, we are laying the scientific groundwork for next-generation games that will empower our agencies, leaders, and the public to navigate the challenges that lie ahead.”
Sessions covered topics such as public health preparedness exercises, simulation games for crisis management, and modeling the spread of uncertain pathogen threats and cascading effects. All in line with CAPTRS’ work to advance individual and collective decision making through simulations and preparedness exercises.
Speakers included Matt Shearer, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security; Dr. Henry Walke, CDC; Dr. Rick Bright, formerly with The Rockefeller Foundation; Dr. Roger Azevedo, University of Central Florida; Dr. Rex Brynen, McGill University; Dr. Ethan Mollick, Wharton – University of Pennsylvania; Dr. David Morton, Northwestern; Dr. Barrie Robison, University of Idaho; Dr. Dave Wolpert, Santa Fe Institute and Dr. Sam Scarpino, Northeastern University.
We are grateful to all who participated in the workshop. We also want to thank the Santa Fe Institute for hosting us, and the NSF for providing financial support.