Feeds

Eggheads use Twitter to work out if it's raining

Also reveals when flu season begins

Security for virtualized datacentres

Maths boffins of the University of Bristol's Intelligent Systems Lab have found another great use for Twitter – to work out if it's raining. They can also use the social network to monitor the prevalence of flu, according to freshly published research.

Using "state of the art" algorithms, Professor Nello Cristianini and Vasileios Lampos compared rain reports with location-tagged tweets culled from Twitter that mentioned keywords relating to rain. They did the same with NHS records and tweets about flu, concluding that, yes, what people waffle on about via social networks really does reflect what's going on in the real world.

They reckon this is going to be pretty useful. The abstract of the research states:

We present a general methodology for inferring the occurrence and magnitude of an event or phenomenon by exploring the rich amount of unstructured textual information on the social part of the web.

The new-found ability to discover the bleeding' obvious by looking at Twitter will be helpful for pinpointing things, the researchers believe; they also announced their intention to keep up the research: "Future work could be focused on improving various subtasks in the methodology, enabling researchers to become ever more expert at pinpointing situations, such as a flu outbreak or electoral voting intentions."

They acknowledge that Twitter's 200 million users do not represent the general population – we're looking at 2.85 percent of the world's seven billion human inhabitants – but maintain that this study indicates that Twitter can be used to track an event.

It follows on from their work the previous year on, er, Twitter and Flu.

Nowcasting Events from the Social Web with Statistical Learning by Vasileios Lampos and Nello Cristianini was published in ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology (TIST), September 2011. An abstract can be found on the Bristol University Website. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.