Privacy-Enhancing Digital Contact Tracing with Machine Learning for Pandemic Response : A Comprehensive Review

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

1 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations


Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Article number108
Journal / PublicationBig Data and Cognitive Computing
Issue number2
Online published1 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023



The rapid global spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has severely impacted daily life worldwide. As potential solutions, various digital contact tracing (DCT) strategies have emerged to mitigate the virus’s spread while maintaining economic and social activities. The computational epidemiology problems of DCT often involve parameter optimization through learning processes, making it crucial to understand how to apply machine learning techniques for effective DCT optimization. While numerous research studies on DCT have emerged recently, most existing reviews primarily focus on DCT application design and implementation. This paper offers a comprehensive overview of privacy-preserving machine learning-based DCT in preparation for future pandemics. We propose a new taxonomy to classify existing DCT strategies into forward, backward, and proactive contact tracing. We then categorize several DCT apps developed during the COVID-19 pandemic based on their tracing strategies. Furthermore, we derive three research questions related to computational epidemiology for DCT and provide a detailed description of machine learning techniques to address these problems. We discuss the challenges of learning-based DCT and suggest potential solutions. Additionally, we include a case study demonstrating the review’s insights into the pandemic response. Finally, we summarize the study’s limitations and highlight promising future research directions in DCT. © 2023 by the authors.

Research Area(s)

  • COVID-19, computational epidemiology, digital contact tracing, machine learning

Download Statistics

No data available