High Performance Computing for Model Exploration

Sepsis affects nearly 1 million people in the United States per year, has a mortality rate of 28-50% and requires more than $20 billion a year in hospital costs. Over a quarter century of research has not yielded a single reliable diagnostic test or a directed therapeutic agent for sepsis. Central to this insufficiency is the fact that sepsis remains a clinical/physiological diagnosis representing a multitude of molecularly heterogeneous pathological trajectories. Advances in computational capabilities offered by High Performance Computing (HPC) platforms call for an evolution in the investigation of sepsis to attempt to define the boundaries of traditional research (bench, clinical and computational) through the use of computational proxy models. 

Current predictive models for sepsis use correlative methods that are limited by patient heterogeneity and data sparseness. We address this issue by using an HPC version of a system-level validated agent-based model of sepsis, the Innate Immune Response ABM (IIRBM), as a proxy system in order to identify boundary conditions for the possible behavioral space for sepsis. We then apply advanced analysis derived from the study of Random Dynamical Systems (RDS) to identify novel means for characterizing system behavior and providing insight into the tractability of traditional investigatory methods. 

1. Cockrell, Chase, and Gary An. "Sepsis Reconsidered: Identifying novel metrics for behavioral landscape characterization with a high-performance computing implementation of an agent-based model." Journal of theoretical biology 430 (2017): 157-168.