Friday, February 8, 2013

Twitter to Track Flu Cases

An ordinary tweet about a case of the flu just might become a part of scientific research. Computer scientists at Johns Hopkins University are using Twitter to track the number of flu cases in the United States.

The researchers have developed a way to use machine learning to track flu cases in real time and categorize the tweets as either simply chatter about the flu or reports of actual infections.

"Our system learns that phrases like 'at home with the flu' indicate a real infection while 'tired of hearing about the flu' is irrelevant chatter," Michael Paul, a doctoral candidate in Johns Hopkins' computer science department and a member of the research team.

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