21 1 min 2 yrs

Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College is the left wing nutter whose guesswork induced the UK and US governments to kill their economies. As far as I’m aware he has never released the code he used. That is not acceptable. One man, who has been wildly wrong on many occasions, should not be so influential and so secretive.

In truth, scare stories based on computer modelling are not acceptable in any sphere in future.

Imperial College has released a derivative of Ferguson’s code, analysed here. It’s total gobbledygook to me. I will be fluent in Serbo-Croat before I understand a line of it, but some here might be interested in taking a look.

The review is highly critical. The comments below are scathing.

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21 thoughts on ““SIM CITY WITHOUT THE GRAPHICS”

  1. @BrugesGroup

    Ferguson’s Imperial modelling predicted 40,000 deaths in Sweden by 1st May.

    The Swedes ignored this dire prediction.

    Today is 5th May and deaths in Sweden have not exceeded 3,000.

  2. Was that Swedish modeling contemplating Swedish people acting normally, or contemplating many of them social distancing — a change in behavior which AFAIK has happened there.

    You don’t think that Swedes have changed their ways at all over the past two months?

  3. https://www.aier.org/article/imperial-college-model-applied-to-sweden-yields-preposterous-results/

    The Swedish model laid out its predicted death and hospitalization rates for competing policy scenarios in a series of graphs. According to their projections the current Swedish government’s response – if permitted to continue – would pass 40,000 deaths shortly after May 1, 2020 and continue to rise to almost 100,000 deaths by June.

    Ferguson’s model (which a group of researchers at Uppsala University ran) predicted that if Sweden did exactly what it actually did do, then deaths would be over 40,000 by the 1st May.

  4. Every time I have read figures of Professor Ferguson’s modelling it does seem that the numbers he predicts are very pessimistic and disbelievingly huge.

  5. Ferguson and his team at Imperial College have a lot of previous form in getting their predictions wrong by many orders of magnitude:

    “In 2005, Ferguson said that up to 200 million people could be killed from bird flu. He told the Guardian that ‘around 40 million people died in 1918 Spanish flu outbreak… There are six times more people on the planet now so you could scale it up to around 200 million people probably.’ In the end, only 282 people died worldwide from the disease between 2003 and 2009…

    In 2009, Ferguson and his Imperial team predicted that swine flu had a case fatality rate 0.3 per cent to 1.5 per cent. His most likely estimate was that the mortality rate was 0.4 per cent. A government estimate, based on Ferguson’s advice, said a ‘reasonable worst-case scenario’ was that the disease would lead to 65,000 UK deaths. In the end swine flu killed 457 people in the UK and had a death rate of just 0.026 per cent in those infected…

    In 2002, Ferguson predicted that between 50 and 50,000 people would likely die from exposure to BSE (mad cow disease) in beef. He also predicted that number could rise to 150,000 if there was a sheep epidemic as well. In the UK, there have only been 177 deaths from BSE…”

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/six-questions-that-neil-ferguson-should-be-asked

  6. Well if this guy is always wrong and if he doesn’t practice what he preaches, why not listen to him?

  7. “The code. It isn’t the code Ferguson ran to produce his famous Report 9. What’s been released on GitHub is a heavily modified derivative of it, after having been upgraded for over a month by a team from Microsoft and others. This codebase for instance is split into multiple files for legibility and written in C++, whereas the original program was “a single 15,000 line file that had been worked on for a decade” (this is considered extremely poor practice). “

  8. Phantom.

    You mean “why listen to him?”

    It’s like asking a plumber to fix a leaky tap, and he floods the whole house, what, four times now?

    You get a fifth leak, and again you call him out, this time he floods the whole neighbourhood.

    When China gift the rest of the world another virus, and going by history, they no doubt will, will our dear leaders be calling out the same plumber?

  9. Here is an interesting take on how the culture of “safetyism” has taken over in much of what used to be called the West. Recent opinion polls suggest that a majority of us are so scared shitless by the “Stay safe!” slogan that we would prefer to remain under voluntary house arrest even after we are told by our governments that it’s safe to go out again:

    “On Sunday, the Observer reported that a similar nervousness now afflicts the British. According to the paper, fewer than one in five of the public believe the time is right to end the lockdown. Britain is not alone in its apprehension. A poll last week in the US reported that 75 per cent of the country want their lockdown to continue, and two-thirds of those canvassed in France admitted to trepidation ahead of their ‘deconfinement’ next Monday. In Ireland, an influential think tank reported yesterday that most of the country is ‘really quite nervous about restrictions being lifted’.

    Don’t blame the people so much as their governments and the media, whose ‘stay at home’ narrative has been so relentlessly, and skilfully, pushed that people are now scared to do otherwise. This shouldn’t be a surprise. As any propagandist worth their salt will explain, fear is an emotion easily aroused among the masses…”

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-return-of-the-deep-shelter-mentality

  10. “In 2005, Ferguson said that up to 200 million people could be killed from bird flu. He told the Guardian that ‘around 40 million people died in 1918 Spanish flu outbreak… There are six times more people on the planet now so you could scale it up to around 200 million people probably.’ In the end, only 282 people died worldwide from the disease between 2003 and 2009…

    I read that Speccie piece when it was published three weeks ago. This passage still boggles the mind. He took a different strain of flu and just multiplied numbers for societies 80 years apart. That’s some world class epidemiology.

  11. Peter.

    It’s not the “stay safe” slogan which bothers me.

    It’s the “new normal” slogan.

  12. The messaging has been brilliant, even if it’s warped.

    “Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives”. Anyone in the UK has heard this a million times now. It’s short and drills homes, like “Get Brexit Done”. It’s pure Dom Cummings. And look at the colours, red and yellow. They’re poisonous insect colours. They say danger, pay attention –

    https://assets.nhs.uk/prod/images/External_0420_coronavirus_01.width-1200.png

    The message is warped of course. We shouldn’t be protecting the NHS. It’s an insurance policy on a national scale. You don’t stay home, not drive, protect your car insurer. But it’s highly effective.

  13. As far as I’m aware he has never released the code he used. That is not acceptable. One man, who has been wildly wrong on many occasions, should not be so influential and so secretive.

    The code, (providing it is bug free and does as expected), is not the important part of the equation. The algorithm the code follows is.

  14. The code, (providing it is bug free and does as expected)

    The link suggests it’s a fail on both criteria.

  15. He took a different strain of flu and just multiplied numbers for societies 80 years apart. That’s some world class epidemiology.

    But it was up to the politicians to challenge and check, and they should have been well aware about Ferguson’s previous failures. If they weren’t they were negligent. If they were and they went along with him anyway, they were plain stupid. Either way, it was the government that mandated lockdown and they won’t be able to wriggle out of it by claiming that they just followed “the science” because there were other credible science views available at the time, if they had bothered to check. The Swedish guy for starters, but also a few in Blighty.

  16. I think the explanation here is simple, and that’s that no one in government wants to take responsibility for decisions of this magnitude. Far better to claim that they followed the ‘scientific’, advice, (a word which is misused and abused by our government, almost as often it is here on ATW), which lets them off the hook if it proved to be wrong.

  17. I’ve been warning of this since the outset of this hoax – using unverified models cannot be the basis for shutting down a country. But it’s not merely that Ferguson may be wrong this time: he’s been outrageously wrong on these matters before so he should never have been a go-to ‘expert’.

    Conclusions. All papers based on this code should be retracted immediately. Imperial’s modelling efforts should be reset with a new team that isn’t under Professor Ferguson, and which has a commitment to replicable results with published code from day one.

    On a personal level, I’d go further and suggest that all academic epidemiology be defunded. This sort of work is best done by the insurance sector. Insurers employ modellers and data scientists, but also employ managers whose job is to decide whether a model is accurate enough for real world usage and professional software engineers to ensure model software is properly tested, understandable and so on. Academic efforts don’t have these people, and the results speak for themselves.

    My identity. Sue Denim isn’t a real person (read it out). I’ve chosen to remain anonymous partly because of the intense fighting that surrounds lockdown, but there’s also a deeper reason. This situation has come about due to rampant credentialism and I’m tired of it. As the widespread dismay by programmers demonstrates, if anyone in SAGE or the Government had shown the code to a working software engineer they happened to know, alarm bells would have been rung immediately. Instead, the Government is dominated by academics who apparently felt unable to question anything done by a fellow professor. Meanwhile, average citizens like myself are told we should never question “expertise”. Although I’ve proven my Google employment to Toby, this mentality is damaging and needs to end: please, evaluate the claims I’ve made for yourself, or ask a programmer you know and trust to evaluate them for you.

    That is devastating and damages should be sought against the idiots through the chain, from Imperial College to government. This is the basis of the ‘lockdown’ both in the UK and US – but what is the money-trail?

    https://gilad.online/writings/2020/5/4/is-imperial-college-still-open-for-business

    http://www.williamengdahl.com/englishNEO28Apr2020.php

    Neil Ferguson and his modelling group at Imperial College, in addition to being backed by WHO, receive millions from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Ferguson heads the Vaccine Impact Modelling Consortium at Imperial College which lists as its funders the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Gates-backed GAVI-the vaccine alliance. From 2006 through 2018 the Gates Foundation has invested an impressive $184,872,226.99 into Ferguson’s Imperial College modeling operations.

    Notably, the Gates foundation began pouring millions into Ferguson’s modelling operation well after his catastrophic lack of accuracy was known, leading some to suggest Ferguson is another “science for hire” operation.

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