A team of physicists has developed an algorithm that can predict future behavior of Islamic State supporters and clues about where terrorist attack are likely to happen.
As you probably know, social media has been a key tool for organizations like ISIS to help them recruit supporters as well as organize their activities. The scientists were able to create this algorithm because they found that they can spot certain behavioral patterns in the interactions between groups on social media that support ISIS. They focused on a social platform VKontakte and identified 196 pro-ISIS online groups.
A recent study found that the number of pro-ISIS online groups dramatically increases in the lead up to real-world events. This allowed the team to develop an algorithm that leverages on this information in order to predict when attacks will occur.
The scientists suggest that the police and other security services could benefit from this approach. The algorithm could help them focus their attention on groups of serious ISIS supporters and monitor for a build-up violence. Additionally, this algorithm could help them track individuals who may launch lone wolf attacks.