‘Conflict index’ warns when a nation faces civil war

October 29, 2001 | Source: New Scientist

A “conflict barometer” system providing a weekly measure of unrest could predict countries approaching civil war.
Raw material for the barometer is several thousand Reuters news stories. A sentence-analysing program called a parser classifies events into roughly 200 categories. From the category counts, researchers calculate the proportions of events involving civil protests, repressive government actions and outbreaks of violence to give a nation’s “conflict carrying capacity.”

They found that the scale provided warnings six to nine months ahead of civil war in Algeria and Sri Lanka, and Peru’s march back to relative stability.

Journal reference : The Journal of Conflict Resolution (vol 45, p 3).