BBC Learning Zone Clips

CLIP 13094

Using patterns in Google searches to predict flu outbreaks

Using patterns in Google searches to predict flu outbreaks
Key Info
  • Using patterns in Google searches to predict flu outbreaks
  • Duration: 04:23
  • Marcus du Sautoy explores how internet searches are building up a huge database of linked information which can then be mined for patterns. Visiting Google’s offices, he sees this at work and reveals just how closely Google can predict flu outbreaks, even before hospitals have begun to need to respond to them. Flu kills hundreds of thousands each year, but has a good seasonal pattern. It is, however, difficult to know where and exactly when outbreaks will occur. By looking at which search terms matched flu activity, Google were able to build a model, based on search terms, which can predict flu outbreaks. Created specially for Class Clips from the BBC series The Code, first broadcast in September and October 2011.
  • Subject:




  • Keywords: statistics, internet, Google, search, database, flu, outbreak, health, doctor, medicine, prediction, thecode, collecting data
Ideas for use in class
  • As enrichment on a lesson on data collection at GCSE or even A2 level. More information about the series, images and further clips can be seen on the The Code website:
Background details
  • Clip language : English
  • Aspect ratio : 16x9

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