Static Risk-Based Group Testing Schemes Under Imperfectly Observable Risk Academic Article uri icon


  • Testing multiple subjects within a group, with a single test applied to the group (i.e., group testing), is an important tool for classifying populations as positive or negative for a specific binary characteristic in an efficient manner. We study the design of easily implementable, static group testing schemes that take into account operational constraints, heterogeneous populations, and uncertainty in subject risk, while considering classification accuracy- and robustness-based objectives. We derive key structural properties of optimal risk-based designs and show that the problem can be formulated as network flow problems. Our reformulation involves computationally expensive high-dimensional integrals. We develop an analytical expression that eliminates the need to compute high-dimensional integrals, drastically improving the tractability of constructing the underlying network. We demonstrate the impact through a case study on chlamydia screening, which leads to the following insights: (1) Risk-based designs are shown to be less expensive, more accurate, and more robust than current practices. (2) The performance of static risk-based schemes comprised of only two group sizes is comparable to those comprised of many group sizes. (3) Static risk-based schemes are an effective alternative to more complicated dynamic schemes. (4) An expectation-based formulation captures almost all benefits of a static risk-based scheme.

published proceedings

  • Stochastic Systems

author list (cited authors)

  • Aprahamian, H., Bish, E. K., & Bish, D. R

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Aprahamian, Hrayer||Bish, Ebru K||Bish, Douglas R

publication date

  • December 2020