Twitter Mining for Syndromic Surveillance

Edo-Osagie, Osagioduwa (2019) Twitter Mining for Syndromic Surveillance. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Enormous amounts of personalised data is generated daily from social media platforms today. Twitter in particular, generates vast textual streams in real-time, accompanied with personal information. This big social media data offers a potential avenue for inferring public and social patterns. This PhD thesis investigates the use of Twitter data to deliver signals for syndromic surveillance in order to assess its ability to augment existing syndromic surveillance efforts and give a better understanding of symptomatic people who do not seek healthcare advice directly. We focus on a specific syndrome - asthma/difficulty breathing. We seek to develop means of extracting reliable signals from the Twitter signal, to be used for syndromic surveillance purposes. We begin by outlining our data collection and preprocessing methods. However, we observe that even with keyword-based data collection, many of the collected tweets are not relevant because they represent chatter, or talk of awareness instead of an individual suffering a particular condition. In light of this, we set out to identify relevant tweets to collect a strong and reliable signal. We first develop novel features based on the emoji content of Tweets and apply semi-supervised learning techniques to filter Tweets. Next, we investigate the effectiveness of deep learning at this task. We pro-pose a novel classification algorithm based on neural language models, and compare it to existing successful and popular deep learning algorithms. Following this, we go on to propose an attentive bi-directional Recurrent Neural Network architecture for filtering Tweets which also offers additional syndromic surveillance utility by identifying keywords among syndromic Tweets. In doing so, we are not only able to detect alarms, but also have some clues into what the alarm involves. Lastly, we look towards optimizing the Twitter syndromic surveillance pipeline by selecting the best possible keywords to be supplied to the Twitter API. We developed algorithms to intelligently and automatically select keywords such that the quality, in terms of relevance, and quantity of Tweets collected is maximised.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Computing Sciences
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2021 12:55
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2021 12:55


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