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Afghanistan on 240 incidents a week

Computer simulation forecasts insurgent activity

A new advanced weapon may offer strategy guidance for the war in Afghanistan: math. Using secret U.S. military logs made public by WikiLeaks, scientists have created a mathematical simulation that may help predict the intensity and whereabouts of future insurgent activity.

The simulation also evaluates its own predictions, acknowledging that some events may be impossible to foresee. Such an approach might help decision makers better weigh their options, the researchers say online July 16 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“If the model says there’s a lot of uncertainty about what’s going to happen in an area, then you might act differently than if you were more certain that you were going to see an increase in activity,” says computer scientist Guido Sanguinetti of the University of Edinburgh, coauthor of the new study.

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