Identification of patterns linking human mobility and COVID-19 dynamics (22 July 2020)

An Optimal Transport (OT) theory graph

Published 22 July 2020

The 18th century French mathematician Gaspard Monge, also considered the father of differential geometry, proposed Optimal Transport (OT) theory to determine the minimum effort to move or morph one distribution (say, a sand pile) into another (a fort for Napoleon's army!). By using OT to measure the minimum cost of translating a city's distribution of human mobility measures during the pandemic into that of its COVID-19 incidence, temporal patterns of such dependency across more than 150 U.S. cities were analyzed. The overall pattern in each of the identified clusters was summarized in the form of Wasserstein barycenters. The study, Clustering Patterns Connecting COVID-19 Dynamics and Human Mobility Using Optimal Transport, (published in Sankhya) was conducted by Saumyadipta Pyne with Frank Nielsen of École Polytechnique, Gautier Marti and Sumanta Ray. Image courtesy: Wikipedia.