Do you know who Neil Ferguson is? You should. His data models are a big reason why the UK is currently locked down and arguably assisted the “experts” in Canada and America to encourage the political leaders there to do the same. He is currently infamous for his hypocritical sex exploits but there’s a much bigger scandal afoot.
Looking back, Ferguson’s data models predicted huge deaths in America and the UK:
Give Neil Ferguson a break. Nearly two weeks ago Mr. Ferguson, an epidemiologist with Imperial College London, issued a report on Covid-19. Much of the public attention focused on his worst-case projection that there might as many as 2.2 million American and 510,000 British deaths. Fewer paid attention to the caveat that this was “unlikely,” and based on the assumption that nothing was done to control it.
When these predictions proved to be wrong by orders of magnitude, many suggested that it was because of the lockdowns and shelters-in-place that we averted a disaster. Maybe. But now another strong possibility is coming to light: The software code that Ferguson et al wrote and used to make these predictions is … crap. Absolute garbage spaghetti code that any first year Computer Science student would get an ‘F’ on.
To be clear, Ferguson’s original code is currently unavailable but a derivation of it, “upgraded for over a month by a team from Microsoft and others”, is somewhat of an improvement. Here’s what was said about the original code:
Before the GitHub team started working on the code it was a single 15k line C file that had been worked on for a decade, and some of the functions looked like they were machine translated from Fortran. There are some tropes about academic code that have grains of truth, but \
— John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) April 27, 2020
If you know anything about writing software, then you instantly know that a single code file with 15,000 lines is beyond lunacy/incompetence.