16 October 2010

Mapping mobile phone use and epidemics

New Scientist reports on the analysis of communication patterns to map group behaviours; research by Anmol Madan at MIT on how mobile phone communication patterns among students indicate outbreaks of flu (the communication 'symptoms' being fewer calls earlier in the morning and late at night).

I've posted here on the possibilities for misinterpretations of communications patterns. New Scientist also picks up on this problem, citing research by Nathan Eagle (also at MIT) whose research in Rwanda has found similar communications patterns (reduction in movement of phone users) at the outbreak of cholera and the onset of floods.

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