Smoking and Activity Space

Project Summary

Computer Science major Yumin Zhang and IIT student Akhil Kumar Pabbathi spent ten weeks working closely with Dr. Joe McClernon from Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences to understand smoking and tobacco purchase behavior through activity space analysis.

Themes and Categories

Project Results

The team developed a robust algorithm to extract meaningful features from GPS tracking and subject-indicated smoking and tobacco purchase data, and verified purchases with locations of tobacco retail outlets in Durham County. Yumin and Akhil used clustering techniques and network analysis to compare activity space and length-of-stay behaviors between smokers and non-smokers. Their computational framework has brought valuable insights to the clinical study team and will play an integral role in future studies carried out by Dr. McClernon and colleagues.

Download the Executive Summary (PDF)

Faculty Sponsor

  • Joe McClernon, Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

"Our DATA+ team did wonderful work. I’d wanted a software tool for quantifying human mobility data using network analysis for 5 years—the team got it done in 8 weeks! Paul and Ashlee run a fantastic program that requires minimal oversight on the part of faculty but with maximum returns. Sign me up for next year!" Joe McClernon, Associate Professor, Psychiaty and Behavioral Sciences

Project Manager

  • Tianyuan Liu, UNC-Chapel Hill Transportation Planning and Health Behavior

Participants

  • Yumin Zhang, Duke University Computer Science
  • Pabbathi Akhil Kumar, Duke University Electrical and Computer Engineering

Disciplines Involved

  • Economics
  • Sociology
  • Public Health
  • Psychology
  • All quantitative STEM

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