IEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics

IEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (TCBB) is a bimonthly journal that publishes archival research results related to the algorithmic, mathematical, statistical, and computational methods that are central in bioinformatics and computational biology. Read the full scope of TCBB

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From the May-June 2018 Issue

A Spatial-Temporal Method to Detect Global Influenza Epidemics Using Heterogeneous Data Collected from the Internet

By Xichuan Zhou, Fan Yang, Yujie Feng, Qin Li, Fang Tang, Shengdong Hu, Zhi Lin, and Lei Zhang

Featured article thumbnail image The 2009 influenza pandemic teaches us how fast the influenza virus could spread globally within a short period of time. To address the challenge of timely global influenza surveillance, this paper presents a spatial-temporal method that incorporates heterogeneous data collected from the Internet to detect influenza epidemics in real time. Specifically, the influenza morbidity data, the influenza-related Google query data and news data, and the international air transportation data are integrated in a multivariate hidden Markov model, which is designed to describe the intrinsic temporal-geographical correlation of influenza transmission for surveillance purpose. Respective models are built for 106 countries and regions in the world. Despite that the WHO morbidity data are not always available for most countries, the proposed method achieves 90.26 to 97.10 percent accuracy on average for real-time detection of global influenza epidemics during the period from January 2005 to December 2015. Moreover, experiment shows that, the proposed method could even predict an influenza epidemic before it occurs with 89.20 percent accuracy on average. Timely international surveillance results may help the authorities to prevent and control the influenza disease at the early stage of a global influenza pandemic.

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Editorials and Announcements


  • We are pleased to announce that Aidong Zhang, the SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, has been named the new Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics starting in 2017.
  • TCBB now offers authors access to Code Ocean. Code Ocean is a cloud-based executable research platform that allows authors to share their algorithms in an effort to make the world’s scientific code more open and reproducible. Learn more or sign up for free.


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TCBB is a joint publication of the IEEE Computer Society, Association for Computing Machinery, IEEE Computational Intelligence Society, and the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.

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