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Participate in a virtual disease epidemic in Moocdemic

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The Penn State University professors behind a massive open online course (MOOC) on infectious-disease epidemics are running an online game, Moocdemic, that will allow players to see how a disease spreads across the globe.

Moocdemic is tied to "Epidemics - the dynamics of infectious diseases," a free, eight-week online course offered by Penn State. More than 27,000 students have registered for the sessions, according to Marcel Salathé, an infectious disease biologist at the university's Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics and one of the instructors of the course.

"We're going to run a massive online epidemic here in parallel to this course with you, the participants — virtually, of course," said Salathé, whose team is also developing the game, in the introductory video for the online class, which you can watch below.

Moocdemic will launch tomorrow, Oct. 15, and will be playable from any mobile device with a web browser. The location-based game simulates the spread of an infectious disease, and lets players spread it and attempt to control the outbreak. People can play the game without partaking in the course, and vice versa.

The educational game sounds like it could resemble Ndemic's popular mobile title, Plague Inc., in which players attempt to infect and then eradicate the entire human race with an infectious disease.