Note: This is an automated translation (using DeepL) of the original German article.
In January 2020, even before the pandemic reached Austria, Niki Popper and his team developed the first computer simulations for the spread of COVID. The corresponding basic model has already been developed for 10 years in a cooperation of DEXHELPP with dwh GmbH and the Vienna University of Technology and is used in various fields.
In the current pandemic, the power of computer simulations was demonstrated to a broad population for the first time. The virtual population model was - and is - used to describe and predict the spread of the pandemic as well as possible, but also to test and assess countermeasures. Niki Popper thus became one of the prominent minds in science, which also acted as an advisor to politicians. Among other things, it is a member of the Technical Committee of the Supreme Sanitary Council, the COVID Forecasting Consortium of the Ministry of Health, as well as the COVID-19 Future Operations Clearning Board.
The daily newspaper “die Presse” is searching, for the 18th time, for the “Austrians of the Year 2021” under the title “Austria21”. The public can choose from five nominees in each of 7 categories. In the category “Research” Niki Popper can be voted for until October 4. The award ceremony itself will take place on October 20 in the Sofiensälen in Vienna.
But Niki Popper’s expertise is not only in demand around COVID-19. He and his team come into play when things get particularly complex: when the traffic flows of a city of over a million people like Vienna need to be calculated, the federal railroads want to optimize freight traffic and take any delays into account - or even when a pandemic threatens the country and its people. “We map everything in a huge virtual population model: Vaccination, testing, dark count, measures, season, mutations,” he describes. “We can back up the trends with numbers. So strategies can also be compared.”
A more detailed portrait of Niki Popper can also be found via voting.