Group testing (i.e., testing multiple subjects simultaneously with a single test) is essential for classifying a large population of subjects as positive or negative for a binary characteristic (e.g., presence of a disease). We study optimal group testing designs under subject-specific risk characteristics and imperfect tests, considering classification accuracy-, efficiency- and equity-based objectives, and characterize important structural properties of optimal testing designs. These properties allow us to model the testing design problems as partitioning problems, develop efficient algorithms, and derive insights on equity versus accuracy trade-off. One of our models reduces to a constrained shortest path problem, for a special case of which we develop a polynomial-time algorithm. We also show that determining an optimal risk-based Dorfman testing scheme that minimizes the expected number of tests is tractable, resolving an open conjecture. We demonstrate the value of optimal risk-based testing schemes with a case study of public health screening.
This paper was accepted by Yinyu Ye, optimization.