Atrocity Forecasting Project

The project has the overall purpose of enhancing capacity for forecasting mass atrocities and genocide globally and in the Asia-Pacific region. The specific aims are to:

  • develop sophisticated, appropriate, and cutting-edge quantitative forecasting models,
  • improve understanding of the causes of political instability and conflict which greatly increase the probability of mass atrocities or genocide,
  • improve understanding of the crucial causal processes which lead from instability to mass atrocities or genocide, and
  • produce forecasting software and reports which are useful as early warning tools for protection of vulnerable populations.

The aim is to provide tools for analysts and policy makers. The project builds on the current academic literature, and employs econometric and machine-learning based forecasting techniques, which can greatly enhance analytical capacity in combination with standard qualitative and quantitative social science methods. The forecasts are intended to be used in combination with other quantitative and qualitative analysis and expert knowledge.

The image above is from the painting Never Forget by Wang Xu, part of his series titled The Silenced: from 1957 to Today

Latest News

  • New Article Featured in New York Times

    Our work was featured in the New York Times in a news analysis article about the use of quantitative data by social scientists to predict political violence. The article, “Spreadsheets and Global Mayhem,” highlights the work of the Atrocity Forecasting Project , including some of our key predictor variables and our use of machine-learning based approaches. 


  • New Article Featured in Pacific Standard

    The work of the Atrocity Forecasting Project has been featured in the magazine Pacific Standard, which focuses on the application of cutting-edge science to major societal problems. Ben Goldsmith was interviewed by the magazine and discussed our forecasting model, which lists the Central African Republic as the country most at risk of genocide or politicide for the period 2011-2015. The United Nations and others have recently issued dire warnings about the risk of genocidal violence in CAR.


  • Ben Goldsmith at the Working Group on Forecasting International Events

    Ben Goldsmith spoke at the Working Group on Forecasting International Events, 25 March 2014, Toronto. This group was sponsored by the Scientific Study of International Processes Section of the International Studies Association (ISA), and occurred in conjunction with the 2014 ISA annual conference in Toronto. Goldsmith’s presentation, “Forecasting Genocide and Politicide over Five-year Periods: Towards a better model,” focused on methods for evaluating forecasting accuracy for the Atrocity Forecasting Project’s 5-year forecast for the period 2011-2015.