SAFFRON: Targeting Efficiently
The earliest known application of group testing took place during World War Two, when soldiers’ blood samples were tested in pools rather than individually to determine which soldiers were infected with syphilis. Group testing is a procedure that tests pools, or groups, or items within a large test group, rather than testing each item individually, in order to determine which items are defective, or in the soldiers’ case, infected. Current research is centred around deriving and implementing a more efficient algorithm by minimising the number of pools. The most recent group testing algorithm, known as SAFFRON, guarantees the identification of defective items with high probability. This project focuses on the implementation of SAFFRON in MATLAB. As implemented, SAFFRON takes in the test group, the number of pools each item in the test group belongs to, and the ratio of the number of pools to the number of defects known, and performs a series of operations to return the locations of the defective items within the test group. The program version of SAFFRON effectively demonstrates SAFFRON’s ability to identify most of the defective items within the test group. The better the group testing algorithm, the less time and money is wasted, proving to be a useful tool in various areas, from conducting research to manufacturing products.