EINNs: Epidemiologically-informed Neural Networks

We introduce EINNs, a framework crafted for epidemic forecasting that builds upon the theoretical grounds provided by mechanistic models as well as the data-driven expressibility afforded by AI models, and their capabilities to ingest heterogeneous information. Although neural forecasting models have been successful in multiple tasks, predictions well-correlated with epidemic trends and long-term predictions remain open challenges. Epidemiological ODE models contain mechanisms that can guide us in these two tasks; however, they have limited capability of ingesting data sources and modeling composite signals. Thus, we propose to leverage work in physics-informed neural networks to learn latent epidemic dynamics and transfer relevant knowledge to another neural network which ingests multiple data sources and has more appropriate inductive bias. In contrast with previous work, we do not assume the observability of complete dynamics and do not need to numerically solve the ODE equations during training. Our thorough experiments on all US states and HHS regions for COVID-19 and influenza forecasting showcase the clear benefits of our approach in both short-term and long-term forecasting as well as in learning the mechanistic dynamics over other non-trivial alternatives.

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