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Supercomputer Crystal Ball

Posted October 11, 2011 7:00 AM

Nautilus, a large shared-memory supercomputer, aims to forecast civil unrest by analyzing patterns and geographic factors in a 30-year archive of global news. Among other things, Nautilus counts the density of positive and negative words and uses special dictionaries that have negative or positive scores assigned to them. The method actually led to a correct prediction of the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden within a 200 km radius.

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#1

Re: Supercomputer Crystal Ball

10/11/2011 8:17 AM

I might be in trouble. Is it too late for me to backtrack and start talking about how wonderful everything is?

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#2

Re: Supercomputer Crystal Ball

10/11/2011 11:56 AM

A 200 Km radius?

Thats like saying the president of the united states in somewhere in the middle of the eastern side of the north american continent around New Jersey give or take.

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#3

Re: Supercomputer Crystal Ball

10/11/2011 1:31 PM

The entire concept sounds a bit loony. As far as the Bin Laden connection? Did it really or is that just smoke?

I expect there are far too many variables to allow this to work today - future I couldn't guess.

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#4

Re: Supercomputer Crystal Ball

10/11/2011 1:51 PM

This reminds me of IIsac Asimov's book Foundation.

"The premise of the series is that mathematician Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory, a concept of mathematical sociology (analogous to mathematical physics). Using the laws of mass action, it can predict the future, but only on a large scale; it is error-prone on a small scale. It works on the principle that the behaviour of a mass of people is predictable if the quantity of this mass is very large (equal to the population of the galaxy, which has a population of quadrillions of humans, inhabiting millions of star systems). The larger the number, the more predictable is the future."

Sci-Fi at it's finest!

Cheers!

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#5

Re: Supercomputer Crystal Ball

10/11/2011 8:29 PM

I would be impressed if the computer predicted events before it became evident in the changing tone of news, not by the changing tone in news! As such it hardly seems a supercomputer challenge, anyone paying attention would predict the same.

As for has-bin-Laden, the use of news references to locate a fugitive seems an unlikely business. If it worked in this case it looks like an anomaly to me, or else, evidence of severe naivete on the part of his network, which any rational fugitive would address and render the effect null. I don't see any firm evidence of predictive power as yet, for the purposes claimed. (but good luck with that, all the same).

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#6

Re: Supercomputer Crystal Ball

10/11/2011 10:44 PM

is that predicting the whereabouts of his corpse in the ocean?

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#10
In reply to #6

Re: Supercomputer Crystal Ball

10/12/2011 3:29 AM

Nope..that floats under current news.

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#12
In reply to #6

Re: Supercomputer Crystal Ball

10/12/2011 10:40 AM

You might have to look at the Great Whites off the south African coast and see if they are sick or not...

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#7

Re: Supercomputer Crystal Ball

10/11/2011 11:06 PM

No interest in minimizing unrest through pro-active fairness reforms? It would have been cheaper, and far more humane.

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Supercomputer Crystal Ball

10/12/2011 12:29 AM

It sounds like someone looking for funding - always easier to get for enforcement rather than prevention.

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#9

Re: Supercomputer Crystal Ball

10/12/2011 12:44 AM

Yes, it is an Asimov / hari sheldon space opera. With not a scintilla evidence, not even some psychological foundation for it. Lets' see. What was written 30 years ago has magical predictive power for a young unremarked upon fellow's later rise to prominence.

Well, this is a copy writer masterpiece, with a boatload hutzpa added!

I admire a master's work, when I see one!!

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#11

Re: Supercomputer Crystal Ball

10/12/2011 7:31 AM

I forgot to mention. As far as Bin Laden's whereabouts went, a bunch of college kids got very close also. No supercomputer necessary.

http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/ucla-geographers-want-u-s-military-75579.aspx

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#13
In reply to #11

Re: Supercomputer Crystal Ball

10/12/2011 7:49 PM

For that matter, there's still one or two kicking out there, aren't there? If the supercomputer (or the kids, for that matter!) could successfully track the present targets, it would certainly add to their crystal ball credibility.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Supercomputer Crystal Ball

10/12/2011 8:17 PM

There isn't a crystal ball in existence, nor the money, nor the people to work it...................if we have determined that terrorists should be treated as US citizens, and be read the Miranda rights. The cancer continues.

There are two uses for terrorists:

1) Extract as much information as possible by whatever means necessary.

2) Fertilizer.

In the entire history of human warfare, not one war has been won by being nice.

BTW- This parallels the history of humanity. If one group of people decides that they are above killing, and another hasn't, the first group will die.

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