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An Avalanche of Violence: Analysis Reveals Predictable Patterns in Armed Conflicts

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Number of conflict reports averaged over all conflict avalanches per Voronoi region of Africa. Radii of circles are proportional to number of conflict events.

Researchers at the Santa Fe Institutes Collective Computation Group and Cornell University have developed a model that explains how conflicts spread over a geographic region.

Credit: Edward D. Lee et al.

An armed conflict model developed by researchers at the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) Collective Computation Group and Cornell University explains how conflicts spread geographically, with violent interactions growing temporally and spatially in a scale-free pattern.

SFI's Eddie Lee said, "Your intuition says each of these conflicts should be a consequence of specific social and cultural dynamics, but then you do the analyses and you find that in fact these seemingly different conflicts are characterized by the same patterns."

The team analyzed data from 20 years of armed conflicts in Africa, which Lee said exposed "amazing regularity."

Physical scales of conflict proliferation closely related to the number of conflict reports and fatalities.

From Santa Fe Institute
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Abstracts Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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