Achrekar wins best student paper award at HEALTHINF 2012

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A research paper by Computer Science Department doctoral student Harshavardhan Achrekar and co-authors Avinash Gandhe, Ross Lazarus, Ssu-Hsin Yu, and Benyuan Liu, Twitter improves Seasonal Influenza Prediction, has been selected as the Best Student Paper at the Fifth International Conference on Health Informatics (HEALTHINF 2012) held February 1 to 4, 2012 in Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal. Fewer than 9 percent of submitted manuscripts were accepted as full papers.

The purpose of the International Conference on Health Informatics was to bring together researchers and practitioners interested in the application of information and communication technologies (ICT) to healthcare and medicine in general and to the specialized support to persons with special needs in particular. Databases, networking, graphical interfaces, intelligent decision support systems and specialized programming languages were just a few of the technologies currently used in medical informatics.

Achrekar is utilizing information posted on Online Social Networks (OSNs) such as Twitter and Facebook to help improve the prediction of influenza levels within United States population and keep track of its spread. He has designed and implemented a framework called the Social Network-Enabled Flu Trends (SNEFT), which is used to continuously monitor flu-related messages, extract relevant location and user demographic information, track and predict the flu conditions in real time.

Since 2009, Achrekar has tapped into Twitter and extracted millions of influenza-related user posts to date, providing an almost-instantaneous snapshot of current epidemic conditions. Using comprehensive mathematical models, the framework can estimate nationwide as well as regional and age based flu activity with high accuracy.

This research is supported by a $200,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health under a Small Business Innovation Research Award. Results presented in this scientific publication show that these posts on Twitter closely match the number of flu-like cases reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and can significantly enhance public health preparedness against influenza and other large-scale pandemics.

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Harsh Achrekar (left) and faculty adviser Prof. Benyuan Liu showcasing HEALTHINF 2012 best paper award.

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This page contains a single entry by Martin, Fred published on March 8, 2012 12:32 PM.

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