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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Online games new tool in epidemic research?

The CBC is reporting that researchers at Tufts University are considering online gaming platforms such as World of Warcraft (WOW) and Second Life as a means of studying social interaction and the spread of disease. "By using these games as an untapped experimental framework, we may be able to gain deeper insight into the incredible complexity of infectious disease epidemiology in social groups." The researchers cite a case two years ago where a programming error caused an outbreak of a highly contagious disease within WOW which left thousands of characters dead. See, there are lessons to be learned from game playing!