14 key features that define a successful insurgency

December 21, 2009

Insurgencies are by their very nature difficult to understand. However each time an attack is launched and every time an IED explodes we start to know a little more about the structure of an insurgency. If we combine together enough of these attacks we start to build up a mosaic picture of the insurgency. Their [...]

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mathematicsofwar.com is now live

December 20, 2009

I have been working over the last few days with my team to put together the new website mathematicsofwar.com. This website contains a set of resources to help people better understand the details of our research. It is more science/math focused site and includes copies of our latest research papers, background reading, working drafts and [...]

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Slashdot: Insurgent attacks follow mathematical pattern

December 19, 2009

It looks like our research just got picked up on Slashdot. How long before quant analysis of conflict is also on the daily agenda of policy/strategy/military types. To explain what was driving this common pattern, the researchers created a mathematical model which assumes that insurgent groups form and fragment when they sense danger, and strike [...]

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Quant Analysis and Open Source Warfare

December 19, 2009

A good post from John Robb over at Global Guerrillas about the “Ecology of war” Nature paper. Robb argues that the research put forward in the study has applications to what he calls Open Source Warfare. Robb believes that Open Source Warfare has become the dominant form of conflict for the 21st Century and it [...]

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It’s more than power-laws and statistics

December 18, 2009

One of the important things to understand about our Nature paper on the ‘Ecology of war’ is that the results in this study go beyond first order statistical analysis and power-law distributions. In this paper we look at the deviations from power-law and we analyse the temporal distribution of attacks. This in itself represents a [...]

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Can there be a mathematics of war?

December 18, 2009

A new thought provoking piece by David Berreby on the Ecology of war paper is now up on bigthink.com. In the piece, Berreby does a good job of explaining the underlying forces that drive everyday human behavior. He gives examples of simple behaviors such as how we vote, or what we order that are governed [...]

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Q&A with TED about the new research

December 16, 2009

If you’ve been following the Nature research and you want more detail about the latest work on the ‘Ecology of war’ head across to the TED blog where I’ve done an in depth Q&A with them. In this piece I talk about distributions, modeling, the role that media plays in covering conflict and the history [...]

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“The ecology of war” on the cover of Nature

December 16, 2009

So after 5 long years the research is finally out in print. The study titled “Common Ecology Quantifies Human Insurgency” is featured on the cover of this week’s issue of the scientific journal ‘Nature’. It puts forward a scientific model that can help to quantify collective violent activity in humans and makes a connection between [...]

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Conflict over global death tolls for wars

December 16, 2009

My colleague Mike Spagat has a new paper out today in the Journal of Conflict Resolution. In they paper the authors call into question the use of surveys to estimate the death totals from conflict. The press release for the JCR paper has this to say; The online Appendix to the Journal of Conflict Resolution [...]

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Focused Distraction (quick links)

December 16, 2009

The 15 latest military research projects, from quantum cryptography to super light IED resistant armor http://is.gd/B6Ly ‘Reality Mining’ – how we can use our electronic footprints to forecast human behaviour from pandemics to financial markets http://bit.ly/XeRUS and http://bit.ly/XL2PA Modeling human crowd dynamics – how one New Zealand startup is taking lessons from Orcs and Elves [...]

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