Thursday, May 17, 2007

Virtual Network Analysis

As a part of the DyDAn seminar series, Victor Asal and Karl Rethemeyer gave a talk on Empirical and Virtual Terrorist Networks. The talk was about determining and analyzing factors indicating how dangerous a terrorist group is. Using statistical analysis, the speakers showed that factors such as connectivity of the organizations and their ideology have strong correlations with their lethality. They supported their claims using both historic terrorist data from MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base and that extracted from websites of terrorist organizations. The speakers emphasized on the potential of monitoring web-based interactions (possibly hidden or disguised) between terrorists and terrorist groups for predicting and preventing future attacks.

The speakers had an impressive visualization of the interactions between 200 terrorist organizations in the form of a graph. This graph was packed with information like lethality and of the organizations, religious-orientation, known and predicted alliances between the groups. Currently, this information is manually created by painstaking data compilation. It remains a challenge to automate this process, or provide some automated assistance to more easily compile the information.