Archetypal analysis of COVID-19 in Montana, USA, March 13, 2020 to April 26, 2022

Emily Stone, Sebastian Coombs, Erin Landguth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Infectious disease data can often involve complex spatial patterns intermixed with temporal trends. Archetypal Analysis is a method to mine complex spatio-temporal data, and can be used to discover the dynamics of spatial patterns. The application of Archetypal Analysis to epidemiological data is relatively new, and here we present one of the first applications on COVID-19 data from March 13, 2020 to April 26, 2022, for the counties of Montana, USA. We present three views of the data set decomposed with Archetypal Analysis. First, we evaluate the entire 56 county data set. Second, we use a mutual information calculation to remove counties whose dynamics are mainly independent from the other counties, reducing the set to 17 counties. Finally, we analyze the top ten counties in terms of population size to focus on the dynamics in the large cities in the state. For each data set, we analyze four significant disease outbreaks across Montana. Archetypal Analysis uncovers distinct spatial patterns for each outbreak and demonstrates that each has a unique trajectory across the state.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0283265
Pages (from-to)e0283265
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 3 2024


  • Animals
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Cities
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • Montana/epidemiology
  • Orthoptera
  • Population Density


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