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2022-8-14 12:10:01

Osthus D. Fast and accurate influenza forecasting in the United States with Inferno. PLoS Comput Biol. 2022 Jan 31;18(1):e1008651
submited by kickingbird at Feb, 2, 2022 10:41 AM from PLoS Comput Biol. 2022 Jan 31;18(1):e1008651

Infectious disease forecasting is an emerging field and has the potential to improve public health through anticipatory resource allocation, situational awareness, and mitigation planning. By way of exploring and operationalizing disease forecasting, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has hosted FluSight since the 2013/14 flu season, an annual flu forecasting challenge. Since FluSight´s onset, forecasters have developed and improved forecasting models in an effort to provide more timely, reliable, and accurate information about the likely progression of the outbreak. While improving the predictive performance of these forecasting models is often the primary objective, it is also important for a forecasting model to run quickly, facilitating further model development and improvement while providing flexibility when deployed in a real-time setting. In this vein I introduce Inferno, a fast and accurate flu forecasting model inspired by Dante, the top performing model in the 2018/19 FluSight challenge. When pseudoprospectively compared to all models that participated in FluSight 2018/19, Inferno would have placed 2nd in the national and regional challenge as well as the state challenge, behind only Dante. Inferno, however, runs in minutes and is trivially parallelizable, while Dante takes hours to run, representing a significant operational improvement with minimal impact to performance. Forecasting challenges like FluSight should continue to monitor and evaluate how they can be modified and expanded to incentivize the development of forecasting models that benefit public health.

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