How does a Rational Agent Act in an Epidemic?

S. Yagiz Olmez, Shubham Aggarwal, Jin Won Kim, Erik Miehling, Tamer Basar, Matthew West, Prashant G. Mehta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The evolution of a disease in a large population is a function of the top-down policy measures from a centralized planner and the self-interested decisions (to be socially active) of individual agents in a large heterogeneous population. This paper is concerned with understanding the latter based on a mean-field type optimal control model. Specifically, the model is used to investigate the role of partial information on an agent's decision-making and study the impact of such decisions by a large number of agents on the spread of the virus in the population. The motivation comes from the presymptomatic and asymptomatic spread of the COVID-19 virus, where an agent unwittingly spreads the virus. We show that even in a setting with fully rational agents, limited information on the viral state can result in epidemic growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2022 IEEE 61st Conference on Decision and Control, CDC 2022
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781665467612
StatePublished - 2022
Event61st IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, CDC 2022 - Cancun, Mexico
Duration: Dec 6 2022Dec 9 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control
ISSN (Print)0743-1546
ISSN (Electronic)2576-2370


Conference61st IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, CDC 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Control and Optimization


Dive into the research topics of 'How does a Rational Agent Act in an Epidemic?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this