Terrorism: June 15, 2001

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DARPA has developed a wargame to predict what terrorist groups will do next. Actually, it's a predictive model, long used on Wall Street (for predicting trading trends), marketing (for predicting buying trends) and statistics based sports games. All terrorist groups have a large number of identifiable characteristics (ideology, leadership habits, resources and the like.) Using the wargame on 66 terrorist actions from the last 17 years, the system was able to predict what the terrorists actually did. This is called backtesting ("predicting the past.") Now the system is being used to monitor current terrorist groups to see if it can predict upcoming terrorist actions. These systems are only as good as their data. With past terrorist events, we have a lot more data. So the challenge in using these tools on future terrorism is obtaining enough data. To accomplish this, DARPA is taking another technique from the marketing field; data mining. When you have a large quantity of data on a subject, you can use statistical

 

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