Posts Tagged 'Swine flu'

M.Sc. thesis and job hunting

Well it’s been a long time since I last posted! about 12 weeks which has mostly been working on my M.Sc. thesis and finding a job for when I finish in Edinburgh at the end of August. Both are done now so I’ve got a bit more free time again (which will be mostly enjoying the Edinburgh festivals for a week!).

The thesis changed slightly from influenza tracking to trying to forecast the belief of the population about the recent swine flu outbreak. This ended up looking at ways of extracting and aggregating information from Twitter and blog posts then trying to forecast the value of a prediction market. Prediction markets along with text mining are both very interesting so I’ve learned a lot and enjoyed the whole project. I’m going to post about the work and what I found from it in a post soon, summarising the interesting bits from 70 pages!

On the job hunting front I have a job at Mendeley down in London starting mid September which I’ll hopefully blog about when I start there. The work they do is very interesting trying to bring science up to speed on the web, they describe themselves as “Last.fm for research” which kinda gives the scope of their goals. So I’m leaving academia finally but not quite, as the work I am doing will be very much helping many people doing research around the world.

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Infulenza tracking project

Not too long till now until I start working on the project to try and track influenza through blog posts. I’ve updated the project page to include a link to my proposal for a few more details, I’ll hopefully update that properly once my exams are over.

The recent swine flu will also bring some interesting points to the project, like that fact I’ve just searched for the spelling now so how does Google know that? There has been a bigger buzz in the media, on blogs, and sites like twitter than relates to the actual spread of the disease which has been very quite slow and not that frequent, compared to the size of populations. Maybe a model of media news sources will also be needed to find what proportion of the noise on the web is really a flu signal.

I also found a site called DIYcity which started a project called SickCity a few months ago which they accelerated work on with the outbreak of swine flu. With this they try to track the trends of a range of illnesses over cites in the world, which as they found is a very hard task to do! I’m going to see if I can help them with their goals a bit as there aims overlap quite a bit with my summer project, and it would be nice to have some use-able data for people at the end of it. We’ll see where things go once I start working in June, stay tuned.


About Me

I'm a student at Edinburgh University studying Artificial Intelligence. Find out more about me and my projects on my website

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