Vishal Gupta Awarded INFORMS Wagner Prize for System to Curb COVID Spread in Greece

Viterbi Staff | August 10, 2022

The prize was awarded to Gupta and his collaborators for the “Eva” system, which was deployed across all Greek borders to limit the influx of asymptomatic travelers.

Vishal Gupta

Associate Professor of Data Sciences & Operations and Industrial and Systems Engineering Vishal Gupta.

An AI-powered system to enable effective targeted COVID testing of visitors to Greece was awarded the prestigious 2021 Wagner Prize from The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS).

The “Eva” system was co-developed by USC researchers, including Associate Professor of Data Sciences & Operations and Industrial and Systems Engineering Vishal Gupta, with his collaborators at USC Marshall School of Business and the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

Gupta holds a courtesy appointment in the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at USC Viterbi. He also serves as an affiliate faculty at the USC Center for AI and Society.

Working with the Greek Government, the research team designed “Eva” — the first national-scale, reinforcement learning system for targeted COVID-19 testing, which was deployed in the summer of 2020. The system employed an artificial intelligence algorithm that incorporates real-time data to target high-risk travelers for testing. Thanks to the algorithm, Greece was able to identify nearly twice as many infected, yet asymptomatic, visitors than if the country were only relying on randomized testing and travel restrictions.

The Wagner Prize was established in 1998 in honor of Dr. Daniel H. Wagner, in order to recognize strong mathematics applications to practical problems, with solutions supported by clear and intelligible writing.

Published on August 10th, 2022

Last updated on August 10th, 2022

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