Characterizing and Discovering Spatiotemporal Social Contact Patterns for Healthcare

Bo Yang, Hongbin Pei, Hechang Chen, Jiming LIU, Shang Xia

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


During an epidemic, the spatial, temporal and demographic patterns of disease transmission are determined by multiple factors. In addition to the physiological properties of the pathogens and hosts, the social contact of the host population, which characterizes the reciprocal exposures of individuals to infection according to their demographic structure and various social activities, are also pivotal to understanding and predicting the prevalence of infectious diseases. How social contact is measured will affect the extent to which we can forecast the dynamics of infections in the real world. Most current work focuses on modeling the spatial patterns of static social contact. In this work, we use a novel perspective to address the problem of how to characterize and measure dynamic social contact during an epidemic. We propose an epidemic-model-based tensor deconvolution framework in which the spatiotemporal patterns of social contact are represented by the factors of the tensors. These factors can be discovered using a tensor deconvolution procedure with the integration of epidemic models based on rich types of data, mainly heterogeneous outbreak surveillance data, socio-demographic census data and physiological data from medical reports. Using reproduction models that include SIR/SIS/SEIR/SEIS models as case studies, the efficacy and applications of the proposed framework are theoretically analyzed, empirically validated and demonstrated through a set of rigorous experiments using both synthetic and real-world data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1532-1546
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Software
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Applied Mathematics

User-Defined Keywords

  • epidemic modeling
  • Healthcare
  • heterogeneous data mining
  • spatiotemporal social contact
  • tensor deconvolution


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