Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mathematics and Statistics

First Advisor

Alexandra Smirnova

Second Advisor

Vladimir Bondarenko

Third Advisor

Gerardo Chowell-Puente

Fourth Advisor

Michael Stewart


When an emerging outbreak occurs, stable parameter estimation and reliable projections of future incidence cases using limited (early) data can play an important role in optimal allocation of resources and in the development of effective public health intervention programs. However, the inverse parameter identification problem is ill-posed and cannot be solved with classical tools of computational mathematics. In this dissertation, various regularization methods are employed to incorporate stability in parameter estimation algorithms. The recovered parameters are then used to generate future incident curves as well as the carrying capacity of the epidemic and the turning point of the outbreak.

For the nonlinear generalized Richards model of disease progression, we develop a novel iteratively regularized Gauss-Newton-type algorithm to reconstruct major characteristics of an emerging infection. This problem-oriented numerical scheme takes full advantage of a priori information available for our specific application in order to stabilize the iterative process. Another important aspect of our research is a reliable estimation of time-dependent transmission rate in a compartmental SEIR disease model. To that end, the ODE-constrained minimization problem is reduced to a linear Volterra integral equation of the first kind, and a combination of regularizing filters is employed to approximate the unknown transmission parameter in a stable manner. To justify our theoretical findings, extensive numerical experiments have been conducted with both synthetic and real data for various infectious diseases.