Tag Archives: epidemic modeling

Truthy tool identifies smear tactics on Twitter

Astroturfers, Twitter-bombers and smear campaigners need beware this election season as a group of leading Indiana University information and computer scientists today unleashed Truthy.indiana.edu, a sophisticated new Twitter-based research tool that combines data mining, social network analysis and crowdsourcing to uncover deceptive tactics and misinformation leading up to the Nov. 2 elections. Combing through thousands of tweets per hour in search of political keywords, the team based out of IU’s School of Informatics and Computing will isolate patterns of interest and then insert those memes (ideas or patterns passed by imitation) into Twitter’s application programming interface (API) to obtain more information about the meme’s history.

In the run-up to the mid-term elections, Truthy uncovered a number of abuses such as robot-driven traffic to politician websites and networks of bot accounts controlled by individuals to promote fake news. These findings have been widely covered in the press, with mentions in The Atlantic, MIT Technology Review, PC World, New Scientist, NPR, Ars Technica, Fast Company, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times Magazine, and many other media. Read more here and here.

CNetS team shows new levels of refinement in predicting human mobility, epidemic spread

human mobility patternsThe interplay of human mobility patterns like those between local metropolitan commuters and long-range airline travelers during a global epidemic can be modeled in such detail so as to offer refined views of epidemics that could aid in public health emergency decision making, according to new research published by Professor Alessandro Vespignani’s research team at Indiana University. The findings, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences‘ Online Early Edition, also note that with these refined computational strategies, new levels of accuracy about the behavior of targeted mobility networks and epidemic progression can be imagined. Contributing with Vespignani on the paper were research scientists Duygu Balcan and Bruno Goncalves of the IU School of Informatics and Computing, and the Pervasive Technology Institute, IU Physics Department graduate student Hao Hu and research scientists Vittoria Colizza and Jose Ramasco of the Institute for Scientific Interchange Foundation in Torino, Italy.  More…

Technology on way to forecasting humanity’s needs, Vespignani reports in Science

Much as meteorologists predict the path and intensity of hurricanes, CNetS’ Alessandro Vespignani believes we will one day predict with unprecedented foresight, specificity and scale such things as the economic and social effects of billions of new Internet users in China and India, or the exact location and number of airline flights to cancel around the world in order to halt the spread of a pandemic. In the July 24 “Perspectives” section of the journal Science, Vespignani writes that advances in complex networks theory and modeling, along with access to new data, will enable humans to achieve true predictive power in areas never before imagined. This capability will be realized as the one wild card in the mix — the social behavior of large aggregates of humans — becomes more definable through progress in data gathering, new informatics tools and increases in computational power. More…

$1.2 million NIH project will help track and predict epidemics

us_1marchThe National Institutes of Health has given $1.2 million to Indiana University researchers to build the ultimate international epidemic research tool. Principle investigators Katy Börner, Steven J. Sherman and Alessandro Vespignani will oversee the project, EpiC, which they hope will make the sharing and re-using of epidemics datasets and algorithms as easy as sharing videos via YouTube. The three researchers come from three distinct areas of the campus — the School of Library and Information Science, the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Informatics, respectively. Additional members of the evolving team are IU researchers Duygu Balcan, Weixia Huang and Bruce W. Herr. Read the full press release or more info and figures….

IU team has pulse on pandemic preparation

us_1marchAn Indiana University School of Informatics-led team of researchers have developed a mathematical model that can predict the spread and severity of a worldwide flu outbreak, giving health and public safety officials a leg up on where to dedicate their resources. Their report, published in the journal PLoS Medicine, describes several scenarios of flu virus pandemics and how best to contain them. The researchers show that strict travel restrictions would do little if anything to prevent the flu from spreading throughout the globe. Other measures could therefore be crucial, but it is likely that only a few countries will be able to stockpile supplies of drugs active against the virus. In these circumstances, compared with a ‘selfish strategy’ in which countries use their antiviral drugs only within their borders, limited worldwide sharing of antiviral drugs would slow down the spread of a flu virus by many months, to the benefit of both drug donors and recipients. Marion County Health Department and Health Services at Eli Lilly and Co. comment on that.. More press and figures….