Minimizing the social cost of an epidemic

Elizabeth Bodine-Baron, Subhonmesh Bose, Babak Hassibi, Adam Wierman

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


In this paper we quantify the total cost of an epidemic spreading through a social network, accounting for both the immunization and disease costs. Previous research has typically focused on determining the optimal strategy to limit the lifetime of a disease, without considering the cost of such strategies. In the large graph limit, we calculate the exact expected disease cost for a general random graph, and we illustrate it for the specific example of an Erdös-Rényi network. We also give an upper bound on the expected disease cost for finite-size graphs, and show through simulation that the upper bound is tight for Erdös-Rényi networks and graphs with exponential degree distributions. Finally, we study how to optimally perform a one-shot immunization to minimize the social cost of a disease, including both the cost of the disease and the cost of immunization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGame Theory for Networks - Second International ICST Conference, GAMENETS 2011, Revised Selected Papers
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
Event2nd International ICST Conference on Game Theory in Networks, GAMENETS 2011 - Shanghai, China
Duration: Apr 16 2011Apr 18 2011

Publication series

NameLecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social-Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering
Volume75 LNICST
ISSN (Print)1867-8211


Other2nd International ICST Conference on Game Theory in Networks, GAMENETS 2011


  • Epidemic
  • generalized random graphs
  • immunization
  • information cascade
  • random matrix theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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