High-performance decision-making

19th October 2016
When it comes to visionary aims, such as improving the health of entire populations, decision-making is beset by challenges. Dr Katharina Hauck discusses the effects of high performance computing on healthcare interventions.

Dr Katharina Hauck
Reader in Health Economics, School of Public Health

The decisions that policy-makers take often command substantial resources and can profoundly shape the lives of the people they govern. When it comes to visionary aims, such as improving the health of entire populations, decision-making is beset by challenges. The sheer range of opportunities for action, uncertainty about future states of the world, and the dynamic, long-term interactions of factors that influence change are major barriers to robust, evidence-informed policy-making.

Now, a new generation of economic modelling based on high performance computing is addressing these gaps. Rather than modelling the expected benefits and costs of decisions using just a single model, we can now simulate future impacts under thousands of alternative scenarios, integrating large volumes of data from disparate sources. By assessing the impact of choices and their resilience to different scenarios, policy-makers are better equipped to make decisions that are robust under many alternative futures. Models can be updated in real time to reflect changing realities, new evidence or changes in policy objectives.

I’m curious about…“our ability to model the outcomes of complex, real-world decisions and create new tools for governments and businesses”

Dynamic modelling allows us to design cost-effective healthcare interventions, to predict the impact of changes in individuals’ behaviour and life style choices, to improve our preparedness for future pandemics, and to design effective public health interventions that reduce the burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases around the world.


Dr Katharina Hauck is a Reader in Health Economics at the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College London. She joined Imperial College with a PhD in Economics from the University of York following appointments with the Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics at Monash University, the Centre for Health Economics, University of York, and at the World Health Organization in Geneva.


Katharina’s research focuses on empirical health economics, the quantitative evaluation of health policy, and the economics of infectious diseases:

  • Economic modelling of complex health interventions;
  • Reducing parameter and structural uncertainty in public health decision-making;
  • Modelling dynamic effects of policy decisions in health and healthcare.

Katharina is an expert in econometric and statistical modelling, micro-simulation and systems dynamics modelling.