Understanding Public Health Using Twitter

Aron Culotta, assistant professor of computer science, will lecture on “Understanding Public Health Using Twitter” from 11:25 am-12:40 pm on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 in Stuart Building, Room 107.

Twitter and other online social networks provide unprecedented, real-time insight into the state of the world. Culotta investigates machine learning and natural language processing algorithms to use this data to inform public health applications.

He will review a few of his recent projects using Twitter data to track the national flu rate; track alcohol consumption; infer user attributes such as location, race, and age; and infer health statistics (obesity, diabetes rates) of a community. He will then propose a framework for and outline the challenges of conducting Web scale observational studies of health to answer epidemiological questions such as how health is affected by proximity to a landfill or contaminated water source.