Tech challenge develops algorithms to predict

SciDevNet: “Mathematical models that use existing socio-political data to predict mass atrocities could soon inform governments and NGOs on how and where to take preventative action.

The models emerged from one strand of the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention, a competition run by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and NGO Humanity United. The winners were announced last month (18 November) and will now work with the organiser to further develop and pilot their innovations.

The five winners from different countries who won between US$1,000 and US$12,000, were among nearly 100 entrants who developed algorithms to predict when and where mass atrocities are likely to happen.

Around 1.5 billion people live in countries affected by conflict, sometimes including atrocities such as genocides, mass rape and ethnic cleansing, according to the World Bank’s World Development Report 2011. Many of these countries are in the developing world.
The competition organisers hope the new algorithms could help governments and human rights organisations identify at-risk regions, potentially allowing them to intervene before mass atrocities happen.

The competition started from the premise that certain social and political measurements are linked to increased likelihood of atrocities. Yet because such factors interact in complex ways, organisations working to prevent atrocities lack a reliable method of predicting when and where they might happen next.

The algorithms use sociopolitical indicators and data on past atrocities as their inputs. The data was drawn from archives such as the Global Database of Events, Language and Tone, a data set that encodes more than 200 million globally newsworthy events, recording cultural information such as the people involved, their location and any religious connections.”
Link to the winners of the Model Challenge

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