The Palisade Academic
University of Pretoria  Creates an @RISK Model  for Stopping the Spread of Avian Flu

University of Pretoria Creates an @RISK Model for Stopping the Spread of Avian Flu
The avian influenza virus – or avian flu – is a fast-spreading infection that affects poultry and potentially people worldwide. While the risk to humans is not completely understood, stopping human exposure to the virus is critical. According to Dr. Folorunso Oludayo Fasina, a senior lecturer at the University of Pretoria’s Department of Production Animal Studies, it is important to understand “how the virus gets into the food system, how it spreads and how it can be managed. To do this, we need risk assessment and exposure assessment, as well as a response model. Once we have this information, we can implement measures to stop the risks.”

Dr. Fasina and his colleagues created a model for foodborne contamination that was specific to Africa, where the virus has already infected 12 countries. The team studied both biological and cultural aspects, including food processing, trade, and cooking-related practices, and collected data from more than 375 Egyptian and Nigerian sites including homes, local producers, live bird markets, village and commercial abattoirs and veterinary agencies. As a first step, the team used Palisade’s TopRank tool, part of the DecisionTools Suite, to analyze the sensitivity of each of the identified contributors to the overall risk. This helped the team understand which of the contributors were the most important.

Next, the team moved to @RISK to help predict the different ways the virus could be spread. Using Monte Carlo simulation, @RISK can quantify the probabilities of different outcomes – or infection rates – occurring, as well as determine the optimal preventive measures to mitigate the risk of animal-to-person infection.

The results revealed numerous opportunities for the avian influenza virus to be spread, and found that the estimated risk for humans was higher than previously reported. Says Dr. Fasina, “@RISK is a valuable tool to investigate these problems and do risk predictions either prospectively or retrospectively. Utilizing the outputs from models like this can help health policy planners and public health officials to take anticipatory measures to prevent future disasters associated with infectious diseases like the avian flu.”

» Read more about the study here

2016 NCAA Tournament Prediction Model
Have some fun with predictive analytics exploring this 2016 NCAA Tournament model using @RISK. In this recorded webinar, Andrew Pulvermacher of Nighthawk Intelligence takes a look back at the 2015 @RISK bracket prediction model, and then examines strategies to improve your odds for this year’s tournament. You’ll witness how simulation modeling produces odds used by ESPN, WSJ, and Vegas bookies.

You can download the 2016 @RISK model to experiment and submit your own risk adjusted predictions.

» View the recorded 2016 NCAA webinar, and download
   the accompanying example file

» Register for Part 2: NCAA Final Four analysis on March 31st

Licensing Options

There are three easy ways to get the DecisionTools Suite for your students:

Course Licenses available from Palisade. These are economical, annually renewing bulk licenses for both
network lab and laptop installation.
» Learn more

Student Versions from Palisade. These are 12-month versions available for purchase individually by students through either the Palisade web site or the school store.
» Learn more

Textbook Editions available bundled with textbooks.
These are time- and model-limited licenses.
» Learn more

Get DecisionTools Suite 7 for your course by contacting:

AddressPalisade Academic Sales
800-432-7475 / 607-277-8000

Teaching Tips & Examples

Time Series for Forecasting

Excerpted from Learning Statistics with StatTools by Dr. Chris Albright, published by Palisade Corporation

Working with time series data presents a unique challenge. The goals are typically to understand the patterns in historical data and to forecast these patterns into the future. From a practical standpoint, there are two complications: randomness (also called noise) in the historical data, and the uncertainty of whether history will repeat itself in the future. The noise in the historical data often makes it difficult to detect the underlying patterns. The uncertainty of whether history will repeat itself means that even if the historical patterns can be detected, there is no guarantee that future forecasts based on these will be accurate—and they often aren’t. Nevertheless, time series analysis and forecasting are extremely important in the business world and in other areas. This Teaching Tip covers how to use StatTools when working with time series data. A future Teaching Tip will cover the forecasting aspect of this same data.

» Learn more and download the associated example files
» Learn more about StatTools

Tech Tip of the Month

Create a Correlation Matrix from Historical Data 

Is there a way to create an @RISK Correlation Matrix from Historical Data?

A: Yes. With @RISK, you can use correlation coefficients reported from historical data to simulate distribution functions created from the data. This is an effective way to use past observations to predict future behavior.

For example, you may have data from several years representing mortgage interest rates, mortgages sold, housing starts, and inventory of existing homes for sale. Each of these variables bears a historical relationship to the others. The data may show that a rise in inventory of existing homes on the market is typically accompanied by a decrease in housing construction starts. Mortgage interest rates may exhibit a similar inverse relationship to both housing starts and mortgages sold. This web of historical relationships can be captured in correlation coefficients identified with an Excel correlation matrix. Coefficients from the Excel matrix can then be copied/pasted into an @RISK correlation matrix to control sampling of distributions that represent these variables.

» View the full Knowledge Base Article
» Learn more about @RISK

Featured White Paper

Evaluating economic costs and benefits of climate resilient livelihood strategies
Liu, S., Connor, J., Butler, J. R. A., Jaya, I. K. D., & Nikmatullah, A. (2015). Climate Risk Management.

IA major challenge for international development is to assist the poorest regions to achieve development targets while taking climate change into account. Such ‘climate resilient development’ (CRD) must identify and implement adaptation strategies for improving livelihoods while also being cost-effective. While the idea that climate resilience and development goals should be compatible is often discussed, empirical evaluations of the economic impacts of actual CRD investments are practically non-existent. This paper outlines a framework to evaluate economic returns to CRD and applies it in two adaptation strategies trialed in Nusa Tenggara Barat Province, eastern Indonesia. The authors used @RISK to conduct a full risk analysis.

Palisade Corporation  Read the paper here

Palisade Corporation

The Academic Global Leader in
Risk and Decision Analysis
Palisade Corporation is the world's leading provider of risk and decision analysis software and solutions. Founded in 1984, its products @RISK and the DecisionTools Suite are used by over 95% of the Fortune 100, in nearly every industry around the world. Palisade is headquartered in New York State, and has offices in London, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, and Tokyo.

What is The DecisionTools Suite?
The DecisionTools Suite is the world’s only integrated set of risk and decision analysis programs. The Suite includes @RISK for Monte Carlo simulation, BigPicture for mind mapping and data exploration, PrecisionTree for decision trees, and TopRank for “what if” sensitivity analysis. In addition, DecisionTools Suite comes with StatTools for statistical analysis and forecasting, NeuralTools for predictive neural networks, and Evolver and RISKOptimizer for optimization. All programs work together seamlessly, and all integrate completely with Microsoft Excel for ease of use and maximum flexibility.

The Suite is offered in three affordable and flexible licensing options for those in academia: Student Versions, Course Licenses and Full Academic Versions.

» Schools using Palisade software
Textbooks using Palisade software

In This Issue

» Stopping the Spread of
   Avian Flu: U of Pretoria
   uses @RISK

» 2016 NCAA Tournament
   Prediction Model

» Licensing Options

» Teaching Tips &

   Time Series for Forecasting

» Tech Tip
   Create a Correlation Matrix
   from Historical Data

» Featured White Paper
   Evaluating costs of climate
   resilient livelihood strategies

» About Palisade and the
   DecisionTools Suite

Keep in Touch
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2016 Palisade Risk Conferences
An intensive day of networking, software training presented by Palisade trainers and consultants, and real-world case studies presented by industry experts. Join us at an event near you. More dates to come for 2016.
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