New Human Movement Model: Useful to Map Flu Pandemic Outbreaks

April 27, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Researchers have developed a unique statistical model that illustrates human mobility patterns. The researchers from the North Carolina State University and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, were the first to map out everyday human mobility patterns with statistical models. The new human movement model has useful implications in tracking clusters of pandemic outbreaks, during a day, a month or longer.

The researchers gave GPS tracking devices to 100 study participants in multiple locations in the U.S. and South Korea. At the conclusion of the study, the data was analysed and constructed into a statistical model. Stopping points were plotted and movement trajectories connected, as study participants ran errands and engaged in normal activities throughout the day.

Head researcher, Dr. Injong Rhee, a professor of computer science at NC State, discovered that humans tend to cluster their activities in close proximity, stopping at banks, dry cleaners and markets that are close to one another. The study also discovered that people like to congregate at popular sites that attract others, perhaps a kind of social “rubbernecking” phenomenon.

Although humans like to save time, and tend to move in small geographical areas, the researchers also found that people made long jumps in the cluster areas. The researchers described these patterns of many short movements combined with long jumps from the target area, as self-similar points of visits and power-law distribution of jumping distances.

Statistical researchers refer to this pattern model as Self-similar Least Action Walk. Besides used to study pandemic outbreaks, city planners can use the model to plan roads, retail development and even where to build cell phone towers.

During the current swine flu outbreak, health officials can make use of the model to study the spread and transmission of the flu and make recommendations to local governments, to help prevent further outbreaks. The model could also be used to track the source of epidemic disease.

The results of the research, complete with statistical model, was recently presented at the 28th IEEE Conference on Computer Communications in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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One Response to “New Human Movement Model: Useful to Map Flu Pandemic Outbreaks”

  1. Topics about Brazil » Archive » New Human Movement Model: Useful to Map Flu Pandemic Outbreaks … on April 30th, 2009 9:19 pm

    […] Another fellow blogger put an intriguing blog post on New Human Movement Model: Useful to Map Flu Pandemic Outbreaks …Here’s a quick excerptThe results of the research, complete with statistical model, was recently presented at the 28th IEEE Conference on Computer Communications in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Source. Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites … […]

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