International Journal of Dynamics and Control

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 1841–1846 | Cite as

A review of the use of optimal control in social models

  • D. M. G. ComissiongEmail author
  • J. Sooknanan
Review Paper


Optimal control is a powerful optimization technique derived from the mathematical theory of the Calculus of Variations. It can be employed to maximize the returns from and minimize the costs associated with physical, social, and economic processes. In recent years, optimal control theory has been utilized to develop ideal intervention strategies for a variety of “contagious” social ailments that are spread chiefly by contact with affected peers—like crime, substance abuse and the rampant infiltration of internet worms and viruses in computerized systems. As the dynamics of these processes are akin to that of an epidemic, the compartmental models utilized for studying the spread of infectious diseases can be easily adapted for these types of problems. In this article, we review the use of optimal control theory in the design of cost effective intervention strategies for the successful mitigation of social contagion processes.


Optimal control Social phenomena Compartmental models Mathematical epidemiology 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsThe University of the West IndiesSt. AugustineTrinidad and Tobago
  2. 2.Centre for EducationUniversity of Trinidad and TobagoCorinthTrinidad and Tobago

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