Aims — This study had two objectives: 1) to design and develop a computer-based tool, called Multi-Objective Evolutionary Algorithm/Hot-Spots (MOEA/HS), to identify and geographically locate highly autocorrelated zones or hot-spots and which merges different methods, and 2) to carry out a demonstration study in a geographical area where previous information about the distribution of schizophrenia prevalence is available and which can therefore be compared. Methods — Local Indicators of Spatial Aggregation (LISA) models as well as the Bayesian Conditional Autoregressive Model (CAR) were used as objectives in a multicriteria framework when highly autocorrelated zones (hot-spots) need to be identified and geographically located. A Multi-Objective Evolutionary Algorithm (MOEA) model was designed and used to identify highly autocorrelated areas of the prevalence of schizophrenia in Andalusia. Hot-spots were statistically identified using exponential-based QQ-Plots (statistics of extremes). Results — Efficient solutions (Pareto set) from MOEA/HS were analysed statistically and one main hot-spot was identified and spatially located. Our model can be used to identify and locate geographical hot-spots of schizophrenia prevalence in a large and complicated region. Conclusions — MOEA/HS enables a compromise to be achieved between different econometric methods by highlighting very special zones in complex areas where schizophrenia shows a high autocorrelation.
Declaration of Interest: This study was partly supported by the Andalusian Government, P05-TIC-00531, PAI:P06-CTS-01765, CTS-587, PI-338/2008]; the Ministry of Education and Science [TIN2005–08386-C05–02] and the Ministry of Health [PI08/90752]. No additional financial sources have been received. No involvements are in conflict with this paper.